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Nashville-based jazz singer brings a fresh new twist to jazz standards
The music of any era contains within it the 'spirit' of that era. No
one will ever 'out-Ella' Ella Fitzgerald, 'out-soul' Aretha Franklin
or ‘out-write' James Taylor. We can pay homage; and then we can do the
work that is set before us -- to make our own creative statement in
our own time in our own way.
Jazz vocalist Dara Tucker's third studio project, ‘The Sun Season’ is
a celebration of life, energy and the human experience though the eyes
of a unique singer and composer.
The current project differs from her previous releases, ‘Soul Said
Yes’ (2011) and ‘All Right Now’ (2009), in that ten of the twelve
tracks that comprise ‘The Sun Season’ are original tunes with
memorable melodies, rich harmonies and strong rhythms. These
sensibilities are immediately felt on such tunes as Sometimes Love,
Beautiful Sun, The Sun Suite and See It Always. Her gift of
balladry, as evidenced on Naïve, and The Nearness of You, one of
the albums two covers, reveal a mature singer with the wisdom to
communicate the tender essence of love with a flair that is distinct
“When I fall in love with a song, I fall in love with the melody
first; then the lyrics, Tucker said. If I can communicate the
essence of that melody to the listener without relying on attention-
grabbing melisma, and instead, focus on creating subtle yet effective
embellishments that will draw the listener in, then I feel I’ve done
Recorded over two days at David Stoller's Samurai Hotel Studios in
Queens, New York, the project features pianist Helen Sung, drummer
Donald Edwards, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist/producer Greg
Bryant and horn men John Ellis and Alan Ferber. The resultant material
is a joyful presentation with memorable contributions from the entire
The singer-songwriters of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were hugely
influential on me, as were gospel and the Great American Songbook.
What I end up producing as a writer is essentially an amalgam of all
these genres. Couple those influences with one of the baddest New York
jazz ensembles around, and you have the ingredients that came together
to make up “The Sun Season”.
During her brief career, Dara Tucker has already managed to catch the
ear of some of the most significant figures in jazz such as vocalist
Cassandra Wilson, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and saxophonist Benny
Golson. Within the last two years, Tucker has won audiences on such
stages as The Blue Note (NYC), Smoke Jazz Club (NYC), Snug Harbor (New
Orleans, LA), The San Jose Jazz Festival, Sculler’s in Boston, MA,
Nighttown in Cleveland, OH and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.
Peeling away the layers of her diverse background sheds ample light on
her unorthodox path to becoming a significant contemporary voice on
the vocal jazz scene.
“I grew up singing gospel in church with my brothers and sisters.
There were 7 of us, so my father (an accomplished music minister) and
my mother (also a singer) had a built in choir. We traveled a lot, and
we would back our parents up everywhere we went. I learned tons about
harmony before I was even in the first grade. That provided me with
amazing ear-training very early on. My father, a minister, didn’t
allow secular music in the house. But eventually, when I began to come
of age, I started to explore the sounds of big band music and the
Great American Songbook. I spent many nights with my radio tucked
under my pillow, surreptitiously soaking in artists like The Manhattan
Transfer, The Hi-Lo’s, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah
Tucker says writing the songs that make up “The Sun Season” was an
organic process – mostly. After writing furiously for more than 7
years, she knew it was time to make her own statement.
The question in my manager’s mind was always, 'Where will your songs
fit? You’re one of those in-between writers.' This was something I
understood all too well.
.I'm excited to share this project with everyone, and I look forward
to performing the material in concert. It's my statement on what jazz
is to me in the here and now. I am thankful to have been given the
opportunity to shine a light on the particular Space that I choose to
occupy in my singular Sun Season