Dreams of Waking: Music For a Better World
Release date: May 28, 2021
Label: Green Hill Music
Consummate vocalist, songwriter and bandleader Dara Tucker presents fresh and inspired arrangements of classic singer-songwriter and soul compositions of the protest era on her latest album Dreams of Waking: Music For a Better World. Tucker’s powerful new release gives voice to the cry for social justice and change that has swept across the United States in the new decade. Songs from such legendary songwriters as Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Paul Simon are presented through a jazz lens with a compelling performance from the vocalist and her illustrious band of musicians. Dreams of Waking: Music for a Better World features Tucker alongside pianists Cyrus Chestnut and Sullivan Fortner, bassists Dezron Douglas and Vicente Archer, drummers Johnathan Blake and Joe Dyson along with saxophonist John Ellis and trumpeter Giveton Gelin.
“Dreams of Waking refers to the hope that our society will develop an awareness of the inequities that still exist,” Tucker said. “It’s the dream that we will become fully conscious and attuned to the hopes, dreams and needs of every human being.”
As a songwriter, Tucker is no stranger to composition as commentary as she teamed up in a similar spirit with blues & Americana artist Keb Mo’ to co-write the title track to his 2020 Grammy-winning album Oklahoma. Tucker’s sole original composition for her new album, “Do We Sleep?” issues a passionate call for cultural awakening that echoes the title of the album. “Many of my original songs are internal statements that help to chronicle my growth, experiences and evolution that I hope will inspire others,” Tucker said. “This time, I decided to focus on the external. Are we really awake? What are we doing to give attention to the cries of injustice and inequality, or are we complicit by silence, ignorance or lack of interest and awareness?”
Drawing from the 1960’s and 1970’s, an era that holds special significance to her musical journey, Tucker’s new album brings life to a collection of songs that reaffirm her belief in our shared humanity. The jazz waltz reimagining of James Taylor’s, “Secret O’ Life” and pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s arrangement of Donny Hathaway’s, “Someday We’ll All Be Free” allows Tucker to soar, sonically capturing the spirit of hope and reflection.
The Motown-meets-New Orleans buoyancy of Stevie Wonder’s, “You Haven’t Done Nothin,’” arranged by saxophonist John Ellis, blends party with protest, while Sullivan Fortner’s recast of Paul Simon’s, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” flows both turbulently and steadily with Tucker at the helm.
Dara Tucker is making her mark in the world of organic, heartfelt music by blending the melodic and lyrical richness of the central plains with the soulful strains of the African American experience. Her eclecticism is guided by the diversity of her narrative. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to a family of singers and ministers, Tucker and her siblings traveled across the US singing with their parents. From there, Tucker has experienced a diverse array of locales that she has called home including Interlaken, Switzerland; Nashville, and finally, New York City. Tucker has since toured nationally with her own bands and also with renowned hybrid guitarist Charlie Hunter.
Dreams of Waking: Music For a Better World is her latest in a compendium of innovative studio releases. The resulting 12-song project, recorded by GRAMMY-winning engineer Mike Marciano and produced by Greg Bryant, delves deeply into the national Zeitgeist with a clarion call to all agents of change to build a world that embraces the dignity and humanity of all people.
"On her latest album, Dreams of Waking: Music For a Better World, which arrived May 28, Tucker embraces the urgent, topical works of songwriters both Black and white—from Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder to Paul Simon and James Taylor—as vessels for instruction and healing. " Read the full Grammys.com article here.
"There's a comforting, lullaby quality about Dara's penetrating voice that is both aware and assuring." Read this review here.
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
"Industry-decorated singer Dara Tucker exalts exquisite timbre, stirring melodies and warm harmonies on Dreams of Waking: Music for a Better World..." Review here.
"Tucker’s vocals prove that songs from the soul and rock era remain an untapped source for straight ahead jazz. " Read this review here.
"Joining the ranks of artists speaking out is vocalist and songwriter, Dara Tucker. Rising to prominence as a co-writer on Keb’ Mo’s “Oklahoma,” Tucker has become adept at channeling her experiences into song, commenting on complex social structures along the way. On April 29, she released “Do We Sleep?” the sole original composition off her new album Dreams of Waking: Music for a Better World.." Check out this feature here.
"The songs are performed in ways that celebrate the rigorous jazz tradition of excellence while speaking to contemporary social and political issues."Review here.
SOUL AND JAZZ AND FUNK
"We’ve said that ‘Dreams Of Waking’ is “mainly” a covers album. The album boasts one Tucker original, ‘Do We Sleep’. This is a gentle, piano led introspection with a melody that pays homage to ‘Pure Imagination’ (which Dara covered on ‘Soul Said Yes’). It ties in perfectly with the album’s aim and in no way sounds out of place amidst such illustrious company." Read this review here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
"This is a vocalist to watch on her upward rise. She has the talent, the voice and the delivery to make a difference." Review here.
MAKING A SCENE!
"Sometimes the best way to appreciate an artist that one is just getting acquainted with is through familiar material. Tucker brings strong messages but delivers them elegantly and gracefully, without a trace of the preachiness that often turns listeners away from protest fare." Read this review here.