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Singer Julie Davis and guitarist Kelly Dow certainly know how to get the attention of anyone browsing in the jazz cd section of the local music emporium. The cover of their 3th CD is a picture of them covered only by a guitar. Thus the title of the album, Naked. After enticing the potential customer with this sexy picture, the two deliver a generous 71 minutes of jazz, with the voice and guitar being the major instruments. Running the gamut from the voice as an instrument working with a heavily juiced up guitar on "Take Five" to a soft regretful version of "Miss Otis Regrets". The latter has Dow playing acoustic guitar and Davis engaging in subtle vocal changes making this a prime track. All but three of the 15 tracks are just Davis and Dow which puts a great deal of pressure to assure there is sufficient variety to retain attention without engaging in gimmickry. And this they do. What helps is the way the pair insert quintet tracks at strategic points in the play list, avoiding any chance of monotony. "Fever" is one of these, taking the same rhythmic tack as the sound track of the Pink Panther with Dave Hubbard doing the Plas Johnson blues laden sax. Dow's guitar turns semi flamenco as he opens "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" leading into an enthralling vocal by Davis. "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" is the vehicle for a scatting/guitar duo, recalling the way Cleo Laine and John Dankworth work together, except these two are a lot jazzier, making this track a fitting coda to an outstanding album of jazz voice and guitar. Recommended. Visit the couple's web site at http://members.aol.com/davisanddow.
Track Listing: That old Black Magic; My Favorite Things; Medley: Django/I Love Paris; Fever*; Take Five; West Coast Blues; Passion Flower; Caravan*; What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?; Stella By Starlight; Miss Otis Regrets; Midnight Sun; On Green Dolphin Street*; Deja Vu; It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
Personnel: Julie Davis - Vocal; Kelly Dow - Guitar; Dave Hubbard* - Tenor Saxophone; Don Miller* - Bass; Lenny Steinberg* - 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.