Dakota Staton

Dakota

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AllMusic Review by

Vocalist Dakota Staton rang in a new decade with a collaboration with one of the finest jazz arrangers, Benny Carter. What he has done here is something of a marvel, and it is a pity the record company saw fit to identify no one other than the stars of the show. What this really is all about, despite the vocalist of course having the front row in the happenings, is a kind of constant whirlwind of musical activity with many good-sounding jazz players throwing in comments. Carter shows great respect for the singer's audience by not serving up a watered-down dish of jazz. Once he sets up a solid rhythm basis, he creates many moments in the arrangements in which individual players improvise or different sections loosen up. Perhaps it is a muted trumpet, rapidly adding filigree behind the singer like lace on a skirt. On another track, unison trombones create fun musical action. The program will be of great interest to fans of this style of jazz singing, as most of the songs are not that well-known. When it comes to the main exception, "On Green Dolphin Street," it is a tune that has been done so many times by so many great jazz players that Carter was driven to top all efforts, creating a dizzying chart. Of course fans of female jazz singing will like this record; less obvious, however, might be the appeal to lovers of big band music. Although vocalists are a tradition in big bands, their features are sometimes not the place where the best instrumental playing happens. That's certainly not the case here, thanks to Carter. The enjoyable song "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" gets one of its best recorded versions here.

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