Versatile, resourceful, and genuine, Dena de Rose is without a doubt one of jazz's most underrated singers. Her fourth Sharp Nine outing again showcases not only her refined vocal and piano abilities, but also her meticulously expressive approach to arranging. Adding Sara Della Posta's French horn on three tracks, including a disarmingly moving version of "The Good Life," is one small but significant example. Others include the funk groove and broken-up lines that begin "Birk's Works," the combination of Jim Rotondi's processed trumpet and Joe Locke's vibes on "Close Your Eyes," and the wily shift to D minor (rather than the usual F major) on the first eight bars of "I Thought About You." (It's well worth reading de Rose's self-penned liner notes for more background on these and other inspired touches.) Backed by bassist Peter Washington and drummer Matt Wilson, with substantial assistance from trombonist Steve Davis and trumpeter Tony Kadleck in addition to Rotondi and Locke, de Rose puts her distinctive stamp even on such well-known numbers as "On Green Dolphin Street" and "Lover." Her two instrumental originals, "The Iris" and "Marian's Mood," make for some of the best music on the disc. In addition, trumpeter Brian Lynch stops in for a wonderfully sparse duo rendition of "But Beautiful" and pianist Bill Charlap helps close out the record with "The Nearness of You," giving de Rose's hands a rest.
AllMusic Review by David R. Adler