Jazz vocalist Rebecca Dumaine is the daughter of pianist Dave Miller and they collaborate for a generous program of mostly standards, several done rather inventively. Joining are bassist Chuck Bennett, drummer Bill Belasco, and on eight of the 14, guitarist Brad Buethe. This is Bay Area’s Dumaine’s fifth CD. Her father has led his own piano trio, with whom Dumaine often works, in the area since the 70s.
Two things are immediately striking upon listening to the opening playful “When In Rome.” Dumaine has perfect phrasing, tone and articulation while Miller’s deft touch evokes George Shearing. Jobim’s “So Danco Samba” follows where Dumaine sings in Portuguese. “I’ve Never Been In Love Before”(usually performed as a ballad) is taken in medium tempo and “Everything I’ve Got Belongs to You” is ramped up to a cooking tempo. Dumaine clearly understands every lyric she sings, and if you listen carefully, you can hear her hanging on to or accentuating certain words as she sings.
She sings “Chez Moi” in French and beautifully presents an extended version with a rarely heard verse in “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” featuring economic solos from Miller, Bennett and Buethe. “Tangerine” is Latin flavored, leading into an emotive father-daughter piano-vocal duet reading of Lennon and McCartney’s “Yesterday.” “You’re Getting To Be a Habit With Me,’ the 50s standard was inspired by the Frank Sinatra and Elaine Elias recordings as Dumaine and combo put a fresh spin on it.
They do Bill Withers’ “Just the Two of Us” in the style of Grover Washington Jr., swinging a bit harder with soulful piano and guitar solos. They swing on “Give Me the Simple Life” and transform the waltz “Alice in Wonderland” into 4/4 time with improvisations and joyful vocals. “Do It the Hard Way” is an obscure Rodgers and Hart tune, partly inspired by Chet Baker’s version, with piano/drums dialogue and wordless singing during the second vocal. Dumaine sings in both English and French in the animated closer “Que Beste-l-il/I Wish You Love.”
Miller comments on the project – This was our most relaxed recording. We were able to go for it more and stretch the music,” Rebecca adds, “The overall tone of the CD is light, playful and engaging rather than being traditional love songs. We love discovering gems from the American songbook that are not overplayed and that we can make into something new.”
Some say the Great American Songbook is overplayed ad nauseum. The truth is that there is so much great material there, aside from the same old tunes we usually hear. Many lend themselves to more inventive interpretation as represented here. This will put a smile on your face. While it may not stun you, there’s nothing not to like.
- Jim Hynes