by Bruce Crowther, Jazz Journal

The subtitle of the record is Vanessa Rubin Sings Tadd Dameron. A highly significant presence in jazz, if perhaps more for his composing, teaching and influence than for his performances, Dameron’s valuable contribution is effectively spotlighted with the 12 songs presented here; all of them originate, either alone or in collaboration, with Dameron.

Seven of these have original lyrics while the others are instrumentals with new lyrics (that of Reveries Do Come True being by Vanessa Rubin herself). Further augmenting the album’s jazz credentials are arrangers Jimmy Heath (four tracks), Frank Foster (three), Benny Golson, Willie “Face” Smith and Bobby Watson (one each).

Rubin has a true, clear vocal sound and she interprets the songs with care and understanding. Throughout, there is never any question that she is a jazz singer in the original and very best meaning of the term.

Recording since the beginning of the 1990s, Rubin has made several very good albums although it seems that in recent years she has not recorded as often as her considerable talent deserves. On this release, her role as principal is never in doubt but there are effective solo contributions from her accompanists, notably Cowherd, E. Allen, Williams and Higgins. Hugely enjoyable, this is masterly music from both composer and singer.

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