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Debbie Deane: Free Time

Mike Brannon By

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Sometimes a new face just seems to come out of the blue. A talent that wasnt there and just then was. For Debbie Deane, as with most talents, it was the usual decade plus 'overnight' success that just appeared that way. Judging from those she chose to accompany her on her maiden voyage, she did it right though.

When you first hear the soulful voice of Deane you might think of other another soul chanteuse or two. Deane credits Aretha for her piano influence but its not a far cry to hear some of Franklin's emotive vocal signature within her own delivery.

Joined here by an amazingly varied array of New York's current crop of top sidemen, including Josh Redman, Wayne Krantz, Jeff Andrews and Brian Blade, Deane delves into personal experience and various aspects and points of love, loss and beyond. So is it sophisticated pop or the have-groove-will-travel brand of jazz? In reality, its both and both done well. For the apparent influences its just cool and different and that's a lot more than one is likely to get for the most part these days.

Of those influences easily heard in the music itself are Steely Dan (harmonically especially on "Hit the Rewind" and "Kari") and at times other singer/songwriters like Joni, Raitt, Ricki Lee, Jewel, Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos, Alanis, Alana Davis. Great company for sure.

Deane has a languid, yet crisp and emotive delivery, soul to burn and has just deservedly scored a German licensing deal with a tour to follow next year. Here's a thought: let's not let Europe 'discover' her before we show we have the taste and hipness to beat them to it.

Other standouts include "Kari" and "Tell Me", where Redman shines brilliantly and Debbie's pleading, autobiographical, jazz phrasing on the latter books a journey we all know all too well. "These Are the Words" displays Deane's gospel power on the shout chorus and "That Can be Arranged" is a breathy reading against a tight acoustic funk groove with modal vamp. All great tunes.

I wish all debuts could be as strong as this one and its not due just to the the stellar sidemen, though they do add some amazing depth, groove and color to the arrangements. It's the heart and soul of the artist's music and vision. In a word, soul.


Track Listing: 1. Finally Free, 2. Mother Mary, 3. Sunday Morning Dawn, 4. Baby, 5. Don't Let Me Go This Way, 6. Hit The Rewind, 7. Kari, 8. These Are The Words, 9. Good To Me, 10. Tell Me, 11. That Can Be Arranged, 12. Piece Of Your Heart.

Personnel: Debbie Deane - piano/vox, Joshua Redman - saxophone, Brian Blade - drums, Wayne Krantz - acoustic guitar, Jeff Andrews - bass, Rodney Holmes - drums, Phil Markowitz - keys/B3, Pete Levin - keys, Rich Hammond - bass, Gilad - percussion, Dawn Andrews - cello, Sherryl Marshall - back. vox.

Title: Free Time | Year Released: 2001


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