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The influence of Sheila Jordan, with whom Dot Wilder studied, is apparent throughout this maiden album by the Florida-based vocalist. Like Jordan, Wilder sees her role as much more than mouthing the lyrics. The words must be given meaning through the expression of the emotions they describe as seen through the mind's eye of the performer. The trick in making this approach work satisfactorily is to avoid over emoting to make sure the message doesn't get lost in the delivery.
Wilder clearly understands the need for this self imposed boundary as she and her partners take us through a 70 minute plus survey of a musical agenda of standards and originals. If there was any tune which just begs for over acting it's "Body and Soul". Wilder resists the temptation as she presents a fresh - - as fresh as one can expect with this oft recorded tune - - expressive working of this song. With four composers credited with writing this song it demonstrates that sometimes a committee can produce something good.. Of the Wilder originals, and there are three, "Babies Gentle" stands out as especially engaging. Originally a folk song, Wilder has transformed it into a lilting jazz waltz which she punctuates with a gentle scatting coda. The scatting technique is more adventurous on a dizzying arrangement of "Just Friends" which also features a swinging boppish alto by Dan Nicholson. Wilder's opening chorus of "All of Me" with just drums backing, is an album highlight. Another attraction is not only the variety in the play list, but in the tempos in which the material is played. There are swinging arrangements as well as tunes done medium tempo and ballads, giving this session an impressive feel of symmetry. Good stuff all around and recommended.
Track Listing: They Can't Take That Away from Me; Prelude to a Kiss; Summertime; Babies Gentle; Just Squeeze Me; All of Me; Body & Soul; Libra; C Blues; Dot's Head; The Touch of Your Lips; Just Friends; Lush Life; Frim Fram Sauce
Personnel: Dot Wilder - Vocals; Roy Dunlop - Piano; Dan Nicholson - Alto & Tenor Sax; Jeff Hanley - Bass; Marcus Parsley - Trumpet; Eric Riehm - Tenor Sax; Ken Tackett - Drums
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.