Devorah Day

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You cannot help but be struck by the individual style the minute you hear the voice. It is not that it is powerful, although it can be; neither is it particularly technically advanced. What distinguishes the voice of Devorah Day is its deceptive delicacy, which she emphasizes by singing softly and slowly in the mid- to upper-registers, backed only by the haunting elegance of Dominic Duval's acoustic bass. Producer Bob Rusch compares her to Billie Holiday, among others, which is not unwarranted, as Day emphasizes style over technique, and as with Lady Day, Devorah Day digs deep into the essence of a song, mining it for hidden gems. Day is somewhat of an oddity: her high-pitched childlike voice does not sound familiar, as she brings to mind individualists as diverse as Patty Waters and Blossom Dearie, a couple of stylists who marked a distinct sound. To sing with only the backing of an acoustic bass is risky business, something like walking on a tightrope without a net. It helps, of course, to have a partner as emotionally mature and experienced as Dominic Duval, one of the world's great jazz bassists. He continually interacts; you can hear him listening to every nuance, following the curves with a prescient precision. Not content to merely accompany, Duval is a wonderful sparring partner, knowing when to come to the plate and when to fade off (which is rare). There is a great choice of tunes here, with familiar standards such as "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Yesterday," and "Just One of Those Things," all sung more deliberately than expected, and a few originals from Day, a couple of which she recorded earlier on her previously released Light of Day, with different instrumentation.