Gail Marten

Gail Marten

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Jazz - Contemporary | Columbia, Maryland, United States
Total Song Plays: 74   
Member Since: 2003
   Last Login: over 30 days ago

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Kudos to Marten & Ehoff Trio

Music Monthly

Keeping alive the musical tradition of accompanied female vocal jazz pioneered by such legends as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald is no small task. But apparently it is a task that Gail Marten and the Clem Ehoff Trio are ready and capable of handling. On their new album, Pure Joy, we find the group in top form. The Trio, comprised of Clem Ehoff–piano; Marty Knepp–drums and percussion; and Alfonso Rondon–bass, provide a solid instrumental foundation for Marten’s sultry and emotive vocals. What makes Pure Joy really stand out is the fact that all but one of the compositions were written by members of the group. It would be easy to play it safe and simply put out a collection of traditional jazz standards, but by taking a risk Marten and the Trio have succeeded in making their own statement to the jazz world. Kudos to them!…


Born in Philadelphia, Gail Marten (nee Divac) began her singing career in 1980 shortly after moving to Maryland. Performing throughout the mid-Atlantic region, Marten has captivated audiences at music festivals, concert venues, jazz clubs and private social events. In 1983, she met world famous saxophonist Benny Waters at an engagement at the Hilton Hotel, and they established an on-going musical association and friendship until his death in 1997 at the age of 96. Waters was a great source of inspiration and encouragement to Marten and they performed many concerts together in the mid-Atlantic area.

During the 80s and 90s, Gail held long term engagements at many premier area hotels and bistros and has sung with many jazz notables including Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Waters, Reuben Brown, Dick Durham and Charles Covington at venues that include Baltimore's Pier Six Concert Pavilion and Ethel's Place, New York's West End Club and Rita Dimitri's, Charlie's-Georgetown and The Hilton in Gatwick, England.

Gail has been associated with pianist and composer Clem Ehoff since their first musical engagement at the Renaissance Hotel in Baltimore in the 90s. Gail Marten & The Clem Ehoff Trio have been making beautiful music together for more than a decade performing at premier jazz and concert venues such as Blues Alley and Bohemian Caverns. Hundreds of social events have been brightened by their vibrant arrangements. Two CDs have been recorded, Beyond The Rainbow and Pure Joy and another project is scheduled for production later this year. Most of their music is composed by Ehoff with lyrics by Marten. Their unique musical style, arranged by Ehoff, incorporates mainstream and latin jazz. A video of their live performance will soon be shown on the television show, Backstage Pass, produced by Hugh Staples of That?s Entertainment.

Marten and Ehoff have recently won several international songwriting competitions for their original compositions and lyrics, Heaven On A Tropic Shore, Always There, One of Those Tomorrows and A Lovely Dream from their CD, Pure Joy. Their album, Pure Joy, has been nominated for Best Vocal Jazz Album in the 2004 JPF International Competition.

Gail regularly performs with the Clem Ehoff Trio.

Clem Ehoff, a pianist and composer of eloquent subtlety and passion who plays with his own voice. His instrument almost seems to sing beneath his touch.

Alfonso Rondon, a bassist powerfully rhythmic and harmonically astute and equally adept in the music of all of the Americas.

Marty Knepp, a drummer and master of jazz and ethnic percussion with an unpredictable, melodic quality to his playing.


The music is rich in color, rhythm and style…it runs the gamut from “on-the-edge-Latino” to “caliente” and quietly percussive! We are treated to collaborative latino visions of music that stir one’s soul, excites our bodies and enhances our sense of rhythm.
Clem Ehoff’s group melds jazz improvisation in a harmonically sophisticated manner driven by a pulsating latin groove…a veritable paella of sound and rhythm. Graphic images of the Caribbean washing on American shores explode on every music staff. Are you ready for all of this excitement? Clem’s playing conjures up moments of every great pianist, but is not like any previous keyboard player. He plays with his own voice.
This is a great collection of music. Somewhere, somehow, it reaches a place in one’s being that says, “all’s right with the world and the music is “to love”…this cookin’ ensemble knows itself. There is an undertow of “latintensity”, which draws one down to its core immersing listeners in its pulsating surge. The music generates a quiet intensity which can propel one to undulate in sync with that propulsion.
Gail Marten not only sings lyrics which tell a story, but recites a vivid prose which demonstrates that she has a hip awareness of life – delivered with a voice of sweetness and verve. Gail creates a rhapsodic reverie…an aesthetic which must be pleasing to most tuned-in listeners…(who) become aware that they are in the presence of a sensitive vocalist, whose instrumental voice also conveys deep messages about life.
Gail has a particularly sensuous voice. She not only stirs passion, but she generates reflective thought. Delicious, as the melding of passion and intellect often is…the girl next door dressed in a black sheath! The rhythmic surge of Alfonso Rondon and Marty Knepp lets the listener know that there is no untamed spirit in this percussive melange. It is scintillating, bubbling and brilliant.

The Network
An International Jazz Newsletter

Gloriously Beyond The Rainbow

It is a distinct pleasure to hear an accomplished vocalist like Gail Marten, with tasteful pianist Clem Ehoff at the helm, and with first class rhythm players, Marty Knepp and Alfonso Rondon, keeping it all on tack! The mix of Ehoff originals and Marten singing gorgeous standards, makes this CD a treasure trove of sparkling wonders – enhanced by the wonderful display of nature’s colors on the packaging.

When should I listen to this…in the brisk of morning, to dispel the sounds of traffic en route to wherever…at afternoon siesta time…in the early evening time…and in the wee small hours…yes, every time of day and night!
Gail Marten is as “now” as a Cosmopolitan in a frosted beaker, and knows about singing…we all know what the intention of the lyricist is, when she delivers her song!

Ehoff, who conceived the arrangements, graces the CD with his authoritative playing – never a slouch about asserting himself… Knepp’s faultless and subtle drumming and Rondon’s melodic bass, lay out a pulse which adores the pieces chosen.

Ehoff’s compositions alone would have been worth an entire CD…he has the knack of putting notes, phrases, improvisations, in a freely structured whole – the compositions are so seamless, that one thinks the music has been heard before…but it hasn’t, it is unique to the composer, which he plays effortlessly.

Did I like the CD? Of course I did…

The Network
An International Jazz Newsletter


Columbia resident Gail Marten has been singing in mid-Atlantic jazz clubs for more than 20 years. It’s not an easy life, because there’s not enough regular work to keep a band together, so a singer is often reinventing the wheel with a new cast of players.

Marten, though, has finally stepped off this treadmill and has formed an ongoing partnership with pianist Clem Ehoff, a Baltimore jazz musician for 30 years. The pianist plays all her live gigs (including one in Columbia next week), arranged the nine standards on her new album, “Beyond the Rainbow” (Shangri-La), and wrote four original tunes for the project.

Ehoff has crafted a sound that suits Marten’s voice and savvy instincts. His understated piano phrasing, marked by open spaces and a leisurely swing, fits Marten’s conversational, seen-it-all delivery. Her fascination with Brazilian music gives the songs a tropical, midafternoon languor, even supplying George Gershwin’s “Summertime” with a Rio beat and a breathy stoicism.

…Marten creates a memorable character through her songs — a woman who has seen too much to be naively romantic but who has enjoyed it too much to forgo love’s pleasures.

In Marten, Ehoff has found a partner who gives voice to the well-seasoned textures of his music. After several of her vocals a piano instrumental such as the Bill Evans tribute, “Remembering Bill,” almost seems to sing beneath Ehoff’s touch.

Columbia Flier

Is It Love? You Betcha!

They're back! And with more passion, subtlety and warmth. Is it love? You betcha it is! Gail Marten and Clem Ehoff interweave their respective talents – her way with lyrics, and his way with musical sounds – differently, yet complementary.
I had to listen to these musical offerings right through...I could not stop mid-CD. There is an integral connection between each song, and among Marten, Ehoff, Knepp and Alfonso Rondon. I know, I know, you're thinking, "you're over the top!" But after you listen to and embrace this melodious suite of music, you will agree, "this is their best yet."
If you have ever been in love, you will identify with the lyrics to the title song. The uncertainty of love – "Are you mine, really mine, Or someone else's baby?" The passionate emotional liability -- Am I high, Am I low? Should I stay, Should I go? The adventure of it all – Should I care? Do I dare? By the time the song was over, I was in the throes of loving memories. And before you can catch your breath, you're plunged into "Who Would Know?" Who would know/Who would care/Love and war/All is fair." Give me a break, I'm outta breath and thinking room!
"Just Before Dawn," reminds us of beauty of "l'alba," the dawn of which poets write. "Moon will soon surrender/To the early morning splendor/I've tossed and turned another sleepless night/ Wondering what went wrong and who was right." Not over the top, but right on!
Each and every lyric, in each and every song, every turn of a lyric, is connected one to the other, and lays out a suite of epos – an epic theme – love! This group of emotional love anthems will not necessarily help you through a love affair, but will make it easier to understand what is going on.
Thank-you for the occasional respite from charged words – Ehoff's piano, while omnipresent, does not overly dominate, and provides the "ride" for what we are taking in of the organic whole. A keyboard musical lover in love.
As Gail, Clem and the trio swan through each and every aspect of the love experience, they ultimately arrive at the apex – Close your eyes and dream a dream/with me/At the end of day/Catch a cloud and float above the earth/Sail the Milky Way. Not satisfied with winging us along with all of this lyrical and musical beauty, we all become immersed in: Skies ablaze with setting sun /Farewell to yesterday/Twilight beckons to the moon/Purple shadows paint the way.
Is It Love? An opus of endearing proportions; a CD for morning, noon and night in Nirvana.

Is It Love? Beyond Category!

Gail M. –
Once again,...
and for the third time that I know of, you and and the fellas have made the world a better place in which to live. Your third CD release is a Good Thing. Indeed, it is a Great Thing! The title asks the question, Is It Love?, unrequited, rhetorical, and otherwise. The answer is a resounding YES! This CD reeks with Love. The Love of Creative Musical Ideas, the Love of Beautiful Words and Phrases, the Love that four Very Talented people have in working Together to make the lives of your listeners easier to transverse.
We Feel the Love, We Feel the Love. Of the 10 selections on the CD, what can I say? They are all so far ABOVE the norm that they in some cases, in my opinion, approach ART. The Art of Music, the Art of Love. WoW! You guys paint with all the Colours on the JAZZ PALETTE, and It is Beautiful, It is Love.
The TRIO. Mr. Alfonso Rondon lays down the foundation and floor for you all to walk around on. He knows his Bizzness. Plus, his wonderful musical composition together with your Poetry on Just Before Dawn is nothing short of a Standard. This is one of those songs that can stand the test of time. It Is Love.
Mr. Marty Knepp, Drums/Percussion, coming in and out and around you, plays at times with such deference and skill, that at times his Deft Touch almost Hurts. It must be a great pleasure to perform with Marty and Afonso.
Mr. Clem Ehoff. Quiet, Genius at work! Now some have stated that Clem may be a Curmudgeon. Perhaps Curmudgeons have gotten a Bad Rap in the same way the messenger is blamed for the message. They have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor. However, underneath along with awareness, perception and a sly wit, is a Romantic. Clem's playing on the breaks between the first and second chorus of the songs on this CD bespeaks his true sentiments. His Cascading, Elegant, Romantic Jazz Interludes, are Perfect. His compositions on this CD are Flawless.
Gail Marten, Chanteuse, Saloon Singer, Lady, and Friend. You are a Tunesmith/Wordsmith/Jazz Singer of such Talent that You are, as Duke used to say, BeYond Category. Your Intelligence, Maturity and Hipness puts you In Touch. You are Love.
A few notes on some of the songs. Who Would Know/Pure Joy---Reminds me of the Sophisticated, Urbane style of Cole Porter. On Pure Joy, Clem's music and playing, and your words and Ending are Brilliant.
Her Point of View-- You must have written this for my wife Jack. I do know a person with insight and sense of humor wrote this song. The rest of the songs are ALL Wonderful, especially Shades of Blue and Is It Love. Great Songs.
But You know, every Once in a While a Song comes along that has It ALL. Music, Words, Arrangement, Performance and that Special Ambiance or Feeling that sets IT Apart. In your last CD, in my view, that Song was Sunday Rain. In my opinion on this CD, that Special Song is DREAM WITH ME. This is a Love Anthem. A Magic Carpet Ride that takes you somewhere between the Places that you Remember and the ones you Forget. It Touches your Memories and Tugs at your Heart.
Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.