Finally, a fitting tribute to the music of Tadd Dameron, with Vanessa Rubin‘s vocal adaptation of Dameron’s work as an added plus. The Cleveland native has distinguished herself as an impressive song stylist with a Midas touch for challenging material. Rubin has eight previous recordings. Interestingly, only Girl Talk (Telarc Records, 2001) has been reviewed on All About Jazz. The Dream Is You: Vanessa Rubin Sings Tadd Dameron offers a grand opportunity to remedy this situation.
On this first collection of vocal Dameronia, Rubin performs in various-sized formats made up of members of an octet led by pianist John Cowherd, from a piano trio on the bouncing “Kitchenette Across the Hall” to the full band treatment for the lush “If You Could See Me Now.” The band is full and understated. Rubin also pays special tribute to arrangers of the Dameron songbook, including Frank Foster, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Bobby Watson and Willie Smith. Smith’s arrangement of “Good Bait” is pure swing that gives a deep nod to Dameron’s penchant for the offbeat. Rubin’s voice is beautifully studied in these performances. Her affinity for Dameron and inclusion of his music in her performance book are both amply evident. This inspired theme is programmed with the same inspiration by Rubin and co-producer Cecil Bridgewater. 2019 is already looking up for jazz vocals.