Midnight Jazz

Vinny St. Marten is New York’s best-kept secret

February 27, 2008
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Reviewed by Vivian Fields

Vinny St. Marten/Blindness Is a State of Mind

In a better world, Vinny St. Marten is performing before a crowd of adoring millions, seduced and mesmerized by his blue-eyed crooning. Then again, it’s never too late, isn’t it? Label him as New York’s best-kept secret, and it’s been that way too long if you read his history on the web. Actually, on this EP Marten will beat you to that as he, with the heartfelt warmth of a grandpa and the dramatic tone of a professional storyteller, shares some of those stories with you. The first one, “Think About It (Roy’s Song),” dates back to decades past but sadly is still relevant in these times. As a young blind man, racism absolutely made no sense to Marten as he had no sense of color to begin with. But his friendship with a black boy named Roy attracted bigoted dismissal from his peers. The track, part spoken-word diary, part classic soul, cuts deep; the emotionally reflective piano gives it a cinematic backdrop, and this is probably the best use of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech ever.

Marten leaves behind social commentary on “Please Let Me Be Your Eyes,” a love song with longtime partner Elysa Sunshine. Hearing Marten’s husky voice swimming alongside Sunshine’s silky smoothness makes for a gentle, sun-soaked message. Although there are only three cuts on this EP, they are all memorable and lovable, written with a profound degree of nostalgia and wisdom.



About author

Julian Wilson, Editor, has been writing about different genres of music, from jazz to techno, for nearly two decades in print.