Jazz Vocalist Donna Deussen
Donna Deussen’s singing has been praised for her “agile musicianship and wise good taste.” (John McDonough, writer for Downbeat). A magna cum laude graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Donna began performing and recording with various pop/rock bands when she first moved to Los Angeles after graduation, before committing herself to the “art of jazz.” She studied privately with Tierney Sutton, one of her many influences (along with Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, and Nancy Wilson, to name a few).
Donna performs regularly throughout southern California and Arizona. Some of the many clubs where she has performed recently include: Beverly Hills Art Fair, Malibu Winery, Millenium Biltmore Hotel (downtown LA), Whisper Lounge at The Grove, Cal Tech Summer Jazz Series (Pasadena), the Inn At Morro Bay, Tempe Arts Festival (AZ), West Valley Art Museum (Surprise AZ), the Phoenician Hotel (Scottsdale AZ), Squashed Grapes (Ventura), Vitello's (Studio City), and many more. She currently has a residency with guitarist Paul Weitz at Thai Fusion Bistro in Woodland Hills, CA. Donna has worked as a session singer at several recording studios in the L.A. area, and has been heard on local radio commercials. In addition, she run a teaching studio and is committed to helping other singers improve their vocal technique and jazz chops.
Donna Deussen has been collaborating with guitarist Paul Weitz for the past few years, and they have recently completed their new co-produced CD, On The Street Where You Live. The CD features unique and exciting arrangements of pop and jazz standards and has received rave reviews, including C. Michael Bailey placing it on his list of the best CDs of 2014 in All About Jazz.
It features Matt VanBenschoten on bass, Gus Duffy on drums, Wayne Wayne on sax, and Geoff Nudell on clarinet & flute.
“High Wire” is her debut album, released in 2003. Backed by a killer band made up of some of Los Angeles’ finest musicians, the CD features 12 exciting arrangements of jazz and pop standards. It features Mark Massey on keyboards, Aldo Bentivegna on drums, Anders Swanson on bass, and Eric Marienthal (of Chick Corea’s Elektric Band) on sax.
For more information or to connect with Donna regarding bookings, please go to www.donnadeussen.com
THANK GOD A JAZZ SINGER FINALLY COVERED CALIFORNIA DREAMIN AND DID IT A RIGHTEOUS!!! I've been waiting for that for four decades! Donna Deussen knocks it screaming out of the ballpark. John Philips, were he still with us, would be exultant. Ah, but let's not stop at Johnny 'cause the very next cut is Steely Dan's Do Wrong Shoes, and Don Fagen's gonna go into raptures when he hears this version. As I've been noting for some time now, it's well past the moment the successors to The Great American Songbook were covered, and that sentiment's slowly spreading to the jazz world, Deussen making excellent contributions (her take on Joni's Both Sides Now isn't radicalized but it's very very sweet, even to the point of multi-tracking a duet with herself, and I love it when singers do that).
Deussen's version of On the Street Where You Live is OUTSTANDING (geez, I better knock off the capitalizations or the whole review is going to be nothing but!), taking the chestnut sprinting down to the end of the pier and jumping off to dance the Lindy Hop with amped-up mermaids, swingin' and then some. You have not, I guaranfuckingtee, heard the hoary ol' chestnut done like this before. Deussen is an extremely confident singer; I don't think it's possible for her to make even the most minor mistake or for a microsecond quaver in her choices. You can tell she knows exactly what the next 10 moves are going to be while simultaneously permanently in the pocket, forever in the moment, and then projecting forward to where everything should lead.
It's a CRIME that this is only Deussen's second slab. She should have 10 out by now, be soundtracked in movies, appear on TV, and find herself featured in Playboy Jazz Fests. Take my word for it, y'all, this is one of the country's most talented singers, one of the best I've EVER heard. On the Street is a definite in the year's 30 Best. - Mark S. Tucker / F.A.M.E. (Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange) (Apr 6, 2015)
The blending of talents featured on On the Street Where You Live, the new recording from jazz vocalist Donna Deussen and guitarist Paul Weitz’s trio, is deeply satisfying. It’s also very organic, with the album feeling like it came together over black coffee and the recording taking place between sure friends. In essence, that is the story.
“Several of the arrangements came while sitting around Paul’s kitchen table, just throwing out ideas and experimenting with different sounds and rhythms,” says Deussen. “We’d just sit there and record something on Paul’s little Zoom recorder, until something sounded right.” On the Street Where You Live is a tremendous example of what happens when a unit connects and the music is found on the same page. There’s no sense of ego and no insufferable “performance.” Instead, Donna Deussen and Paul Weitz’s trio manage a remarkably pure and superbly fresh record. This is “kitchen table jazz” at its finest.
- Jordan Richardson / Something Else Reviews (Jan 30, 2015)
Deussen's scat singing is full-throttle. She scats as naturally as she sings... Weitz's crack trio combines with Deussen's voice is like a perfect fall pie crust, rich and comfortable. A spare and humid coupling of Black Coffee with Night in Tunisia highlights the recording with the most inventive of arrangements. Deussen dances with Wayne's tenor saxophone, bouncing phrases off the horn-man like an inspired handball player; the singer has the upper hand. On the Street Where You live is beautifully completed and realized... Deussen never over-sings. Very good show, here! - C. Michael Bailey / All About Jazz (Oct 8, 2014)
ON C. MICHAEL BAILEY'S BEST RECORDINGS OF 2014 LIST:
“Donna Deussen has a warmer than Tierney Sutton tone to her voice, and teams it up well with guitarist Paul Weitz and his cast of Matt VanBenschoten/b and Gus Duffy/d. They do some clever things with 60s pop tunes like “California Dreamin’” and “Both Sides Now” giving a bit of flair to the folk tunes. Deussen sounds assured on the intimate take of “The Very Thought of You” and gets a bit spry with Duffy who shifts gears like a Ghia during “On the Street Where You Live.” Her tone can exude confidence and sass during a strutting “Sister Sadie” which features a gleam in Deussen’s eye. Fun and inviting session.”
- George Harris / JazzWeekly.com (Sep 25, 2014)
My Jazz Story
Published on: 2018-02-02
My favorite jazz vocalists, in no particular order: Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday, Betty Carter, Kurt Elling, Tierney Sutton, Rene Marie, Karrin Allyson, N.Y. Voices, Kate McGarry, Nancy Wilson, Frank Sinatra...