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Vocalist Dana Lauren has a beautifully balanced alto voice that is pliant and malleable, one well suited for jazz. It's You or No One (Self Produced, 2010) was the singer's well-received debut, a smart collection of standards rendered well by top-notch musicians. Lauren sings inside and outside the box, straight-ahead and sideways with equal intensity and sensitivity. She is also effective in small spaces.
In a minimalist trend that echoes Lawrence Lebo's "less-is-more" approach, Lauren retires her band, bringing in bassist Christian McBride for a duet on the 1930 McHugh/Fields show tune, "On the Sunny Side of the Street." After opening with a tempo-perfect introductory bass vamp, McBride and Lauren both chase the beatsometimes ahead, sometimes behind, but always swinging. Lauren is confidently playful and coquettish in her phrasing, obviously having fun with this old tune. McBride takes a solo jaunt, proving that all that's needed for a band may be a bass, returning for the duet coda.
"Gold dust at my feet," indeed.
Personnel: Dana Lauren: vocals; Christian McBride: bass.
Year Released: 2011
| Record Label: Self Produced
| Style: Vocal
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.