Jersey Jazz

When Tadd Dameron’s name is mentioned to jazz fans, most would think of him as a jazz composer and arranger, with some perhaps mentioning his piano playing.  Some of his tunes like “If You Could See Me Now” and “Good Bait” have become widely played jazz classics.  He did, however write tunes for which he and others have written lyrics, and it is surprising that this aspect of his output has been largely ignored.  Vocalist VANESSA RUBIN saw the possibilities of creating a program of strictly Dameron songs, and we now have The Dream Is You: Vanessa Rubin Sings Tadd Dameron (Nibur – 1001).  She has a band filled with superior players, John Cowherd on piano, Kenny Davis on bass, Carl Allen on drums, Eddie Allen on trumpet, Patience Higgins on tenor sax, Bruce Williams on alto sax, Clifton Anderson on trombone and Alex Harding on baritone sax, and has a dream list of arrangers, Frank Foster, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Bobby Watson and Willie Smith.  In addition to the songs mentioned above, she explores “Lady Bird,” “Kitchenette Across the Hall,” “Weekend,” “On a Misty Night,” “Never Been in Love,” “Next Time Around (Soultrane)” “Reveries Do Come True (The Dream Is You),” “Whatever Possessed Me,” “You’re a Joy” and “I Think I’ll Go Away.”  Rubin is an assured singer with a rich, dusky voice that she uses with a true jazz feeling.  Her readings of the songs milk them for their essential meaning.  Dameron is surely smiling down, pleased that these songs are finally getting the kind of respect that they deserve, and Rubin was the perfect choice to bring them to life.  (

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