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Rebecca DuMaine: Happy Madness

Dan Bilawsky By

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There's a natural appeal in Rebecca DuMaine's vocal work. Perhaps it's due to her straightforward approach, reflective of a theater background yet undeniably tethered to pure jazz. She puts a song across with a smile, capitalizing on her innate ebullience, and she gives the impression that she knows of what she sings.

On this, DuMaine's fourth album on the Summit imprint, she continues her work with the Dave Miller Trio. She has a longstanding connection to this group—the leader-pianist is her father, and the trio has accompanied her on all of her previous releases—and that makes for a hand-in-glove fit. There may be slight changes in personnel from past albums—a different bassist, the addition of one new guest (and the return of one familiar one)—but it's basically business as usual for this crew.

DuMaine's sunny side is tapped to the fullest extent over the course of these thirteen tracks. Everything is emotionally upbeat, regardless of tempo or style, and there's a glimmer in every musical action. Some numbers launch with swinging verve ("Nobody Else But Me") and others enter with lights-are-low intimacy before settling in ("Like Someone In Love"). DuMaine finds comfort in myriad settings along the way, gaily waltzing along ("Haven't We Met"), exploring a classic from The Beatles with only her father at her side ("Here, There And Everywhere"), delivering a "Sing, Sing, Sing"-esque spin on a famous thematic ode to the world's favorite web-slinger ("Spider Man"), and mining Brazilian music and rhythms to good effect on a number of occasions. Through it all, DuMaine is ably assisted by Miller, bassist Perry Thoorsell, drummer Bill Belasco, and, on occasion, guitarist Brad Buethe and saxophonist Pete Cornell. Everybody on that list helps to accentuate the mood(s) at hand by playing to the songs and adding concise solo statements at one time or another.

If there's one potential drawback here, it's that things may be a bit too orderly and proper. This isn't risk-taking music. But should you really consider refinement and clarity of expression a flaw? Probably not. DuMaine, Miller, and the rest of the crew are a polished bunch, and these songs show it. If you're looking for a ray-of-sunshine statement capable of blocking out the negative energy in the world, this is it.

Track Listing: Nobody Else But Me; Samba Saravah; Like Someone In Love; Take A Chance; So Nice; It's Alright With Me; I'm Old Fashioned; This Happy Madness; Here, There And Everywhere; The More I See You; Destination Moon; Haven't We Met; Spider Man.

Personnel: Rebecca DuMaine: vocals; Dave Miller: piano; Perry Thoorsell: bass; Bill Belasco: drums; Brad Buethe: guitar; Pete Cornell: saxophone.

Title: Happy Madness | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Summit Records

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