How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Vocalist Paulette Dozier's presentation is impeccable. The CD cover and booklet photography reveal a well-turned-out lady: stylishly dressed, tastefully glamorous, perfectly coiffed, a picture of sophistication. Those images are truth in advertising with Dozier's music, and it just seems fitting that a woman who looks that way puts out such a polished and sophisticated musical effort on With You.
The disc opens with the standard "Only You," starting out with a drum shuffle behind a bouncing bass line. Dozier and the band work in an up-tempo mode, the vocalist freshening the tune with her rich timbre and exuberant scatting, plus a touch of soul. Maybe more than a touch, which brings us to "Groovin' with Marvin," a combination of two great '60's Motown tunes made famous by Marvin Gaye, "Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing" and "How Sweet it Is." The hybrid is brightly arranged, shifting between the tunes with the smooth flow of a well-lubricated transmission going from high gear to overdrive and back again.
Dozier's take on the much-covered "Fever" feels less dark-hued than most; while the vocalist's delivery seems underlaid with an unshakeable inner strength like Carmen McRae's, it also feels optimistic and forthrightly buoyant, even when laying a case for "Fever."
Burt Bacharach tunes don't get covered enough in jazz, but Dozier does her part to remedy that situation with her covers of "Alfie" and "Walk On By," making them both her own, showcasing her burnished ballad vocals on the former, backed by the spareness of a piano trio, and a more freewheeling, jazzier delivery with horns on the up-tempo "Walk On By."
Track Listing: Only You; Groovin' With Marvin; Fever; Nature Boy; Ode to Freddy and Billie; With You; Just in Time; Alfie; I'm in Love; Walk On By.
Personnel: Paulette Dozier: vocals; Michael Levine: piano; Chuck Bergeron: bass; Alex Berti: bass; Sam Levine: drums; Remy Taveress: drums; Jason Carder: trumpet; Lindsey Blair: guitar; Dan Warner: guitar; Randall Dollahon: guitar; Ed Calle: tenor saxophone; Richared Bravo: percussion.