Dee Daniels

Jazzinit

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AllMusic Review by

Dee Daniels is a good jazz singer known primarily for songbook performances. Here, she delves into a large mix of songs from the jazz realm as well as the pop, rock, and R&B realms. With an able-bodied band behind her, she puts something of a jazz spin onto each song in turn, moving from Earth, Wind & Fire to Stevie Wonder, to the Doobies and James Taylor. With such a mixed bag of source material, and her own admitted influences from R&B, blues, and gospel, it's perhaps not surprising that the results are mixed as well. More often than not, her gospel side comes out and alternately raises and batters the underlying songs. Her jazz form can go the melodramatic route easily, with the strain in her voice becoming apparent as she goes. It's when she's in her more original elements that the power really comes out. Converting Lionel Richie's "Hello" to a jazz ballad comes across particularly sappy and overdone. Right after that however, James Taylor's "Fire & Rain" is given a bluesy overhaul that both makes it intriguing and makes it roll at the same time. A rendition of Otis Redding's (and Aretha's) "Respect" comes out too slowly to hold its old power, but that same slowed-down bluesy feel gives "Love Me Tender" a broken-down nightclub feel that suits it surprisingly well. The album is hit-and-miss, but more as a result of the mismatches between Daniels' style and the songs' demands than as a result of her vocal abilities (to their credit, the band plays an outstanding rendition of every song in the style chosen, holding the middle ground between iconoclasm and reverence).

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