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August 9, 2005

Vocal Jazz CD Review Deanna Dubbin

Written by
cindy mcleod

CD Release / Jazz vocal
Deanna Dubbin / With One More Look at You
Nevin Park Productions – June 2005

Deanna Dubbin has released her long awaited debut CD With One More Look at You, a collection of pop and jazz standards rendered with her own twist. There is a quality and diverse array of musicians backing her up on this recording, with some notable performances by trumpeter Al Muirhead, who adds a clean and rich presence, and guitarist Brad Steckel, whose empathetic and tasty offerings are the backbone of the arrangements. Sure to get a nod of approval from the critics, this is a recording that will comfortably fit among the top pop and smooth jazz charts in Canada.

Dubbin’s voice is clear, concise and incredibly charged, especially in her upper range. This woman can really belt, never sacrificing tone or intonation in the process, she just gets stronger as she climbs the scale to unbelievable heights. There is some delightful interplay with the rhythm as she feels the up-tempo and latin material expertly, such as her readings of Beckensten/Calandra’s Shaker Song and White/Trzetrzetewska’s From Now On. There are some great funk feels here too, such as Rupert Holmes’ Queen Bee, and a lovely segue from a rubato intro on the Lerner/Lowe classic Almost Like Being in Love. Her technique is masterful and her delivery articulate, offering the listener easy access to the lyrics, indeed the whole CD is about accessibility. Deanna has serious chops, and delivers them in a highly listenable fashion.

Dubbin is obviously schooled in the art of voice, almost to a fault, for I found myself yearning for more, for her to let us in and show her vulnerability alongside her flawless performances. That said, there are tender and sweet moments, like Blue, where she emotes an innocent and trusting quality, revealing more of her essence. This cut features a duet with brother Dennis Dubbin, who lends another dimension with his verdant tenor vocal and a delightful call/answer interlude. Her choice in standards supports the lyricism of her approach, smooth and skillful, it’s obvious her influences are from a more sophisticated background, I hear Streisand, Anita Baker, and at times, Canadian vocalist Rebecca Jenkins in her delivery.

The song selection is delightful and aligns with her vocal qualities, from the pens of the masters come Carmichel/Mercer’s Skylark, Rogers and Harts’ My Funny Valentine, and Arlen’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but there are some delightful surprises, such as Tom Waits’ Rainbow Sleeves, and the Lennon/McCartney superhit Come Together, which is by far the most interesting and contemporary read on the CD.

Her choice of musicians for this project is as dynamic as the song choices, with the contributions of her long time rhythm section of pianist Kristian Alexandrov, bassist Ben Harries and drummer Andy Ericson lending a crisp and funky drive, spiced with guest appearances from saxophonists Pat Belliveau, Dave Camwell and John Roggensack, and percussionist Jeff Fafard among those of note, but my favourite cuts are those featuring pianist Derek Stoll and bassist Kodi Hutchison, who lend more of a jazz flavour to the sound and bring out a tenderness and a relaxed looseness in Deanna’s phrasing.

A lush and luxurious recording, With One More Look at You is a welcome addition to the record buyer�s collection, and deserves a permanent place in your CD player!

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