All too often, jazz singers have suffered from the delusion that worthwhile popular music died with George Gershwin, Cole Porter, or Irving Berlin. Ignoring rock and R&B, such myopic artists refuse to see the value of Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Billy Joel, Gamble & Huff, Tom Waits, Sting, and countless others. The result has been a lot of very predictable jazz vocal dates. In the 1980s and 1990s, the last thing jazz needed was yet another faceless young Sarah Vaughan clone providing yet another knee-jerk version of "Our Love Is Here to Stay." Jazz also had its share of adventurous singers during those decades, however, one of whom was Ann Dyer. This superb CD finds the Bay Area vocalist interpreting the Beatles' 1966 album Revolver, and make no mistake: classics like "Good Day, Sunshine," "I'm Only Sleeping," "Rain," and "Taxman" get serious makeovers. Blending rock with avant-garde jazz, Dyer favors an approach that is abstract, quirky, and off-center yet highly musical. "Eleanor Rigby" becomes moody, tango-influenced jazz-noir, while "Tomorrow Never Knows" is transformed into a hypnotic, Middle Eastern-influenced meditation. Some jazz purists will find Dyer's love of the Lennon/McCartney songbook objectionable, but truth be told, Dyer interpreting the Beatles in 1999 is every bit as logical as Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan interpreting Cole Porter in the 1940s and 1950s.The title Revolver: A New Spin says it well; Dyer definitely puts a new and unorthodox spin on Revolver, and she does so with amazing results.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson