How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Without any doubt, pianist/vocalist Dena DeRose has come up with another winner and possibly her finest album yet to date. That’s saying a lot too because her previous two sessions for Sharp Nine, Introducing Dena DeRose and Another World, have been critically lauded while also setting a new standard among the female jazzer cum hip vocalist crowd. Even if DeRose had never discovered her vocal talents, her skills as a pianist would have led to a successful career as a jazz artist. But thank heavens she did get those pipes ringing because this is where she excels and leaves all competing peers behind at the starting gate.
While standards again constitute the bulk of the program, DeRose has a way of seeing things, catching subtle nuances, and recasting melodies in a way that has previously escaped other interpreters. For instance, there’s that ingenious drop in tempo and swift return to form on a lively “Detour Ahead” that echoes the line “wake up, slow down.” Need more proof? Look no further than a totally fresh peek at the title track, with sexy and elongated phrases so expressively supported by vibraphonist Joe Locke. DeRose even comes up with a new angle- singing along with her piano lines in a unique style that recalls similar techniques by George Benson and the late Major Holley. It adds a lovely touch to “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” and “The Touch of Your Lips.”
As with DeRose’s past efforts, she finds capable support in a crack rhythm team that includes bassist Dwayne Burno and drummers Matt Wilson and Mark Taylor. Guests include the aforementioned Locke, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, and saxophonist Joel Frahm. And to make sure Miss DeRose’s labors are not negated by technical tribulations, engineer Mike Marciano renders the session with the kind of focus and warmth that is needed for vocals and has now become one of the trademarks of a Sharp Nine production. It cannot be overstated that DeRose’s time has come and it should be nothing but blue skies from here on out.
Track Listing: If I Should Lose You, Detour Ahead, I've Never Been In Love Before, I Can See Clearly Now, With a Smile, Day In Day Out, If You Love Me, The Touch of Your Lips, Alone Together, What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
Personnel: Dena DeRose (piano and vocals), Joe Locke (vibes-tracks 2,4,5,10), Joel Frahm (tenor saxophone on tracks 4 & 6 and soprano sax on track 5), Jim Rotondi (trumpet- tracks 4 & 9), Dwayne Burno (bass), Mark Taylor (drums- tracks 6 & 8), Matt Wilson (drums- except tracks 6 & 8)