By: Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene
Tadd Dameron (1917-65) was arguably the most significant arranger-composer to emerge from the classic bebop era. While best known for “Hot House” and “If You Could See Me Now,” he wrote a couple dozen other timeless songs too, sometimes also contributing lyrics. He had a short life but along the way worked with Harlan Leonard’s Rockets, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, and John Coltrane among others.
Vanessa Rubin and Tadd Dameron were both from Cleveland and she was taught early on by musicians who knew Dameron. The Dream Is You features her singing a dozen Tadd Dameron songs and contributing her lyrics to the title cut (renamed “Reveries Do Come True”). Her voice is heard at its prime and the singer does justice to the rich melodies and the lyrics, improvising with subtlety and swing.
Ms. Rubin is joined by an octet that includes pianist John Cowherd, trumpeter Eddie Allen, tenor-saxophonist Patience Higgins, altoist Bruce Williams, baritonist Alex Harding, trombonist Clifton Anderson, bassist Kenny Davis and drummer Carl Allen. The musicians get a generous number of concise solos that consistently uplift the music, performing arrangements by Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Bobby Watson, Willie “Face” Smith and the late Frank Foster; each writer other than Watson personally knew Dameron. Among the highlights are “Lady Bird,” “On A Misty Night,” “Next Time Around (Soultrane),” and the title cut but all of the performances are excellent.
This is a superior tribute that will hopefully result in some of the lesser-known Tadd Dameron songs (including “Weekend,” “Never Been In Love” and “Whatever Possessed Me”) being revived. It is highly recommended and available from www.vanessarubin.com.