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13,530 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 948 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (July 31).

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Album Review: Dara Tucker – Dreams Of Waking, Music For A Better World

Dara Tucker (vocals); On  various  tracks: Cyrus Chestnut,  Sullivan  Fortner (piano); Dezron Douglas, Vicente Archer (bass); Johnathan Blake, Joe Dyson (drums); Giveton Gelin (trumpet); John Ellis (saxophone)

The worst thing about reviewing this album was finding biographical details – I had to resort to Wikipedia. The best thing was everything else, especially Ms Tucker's warm, expressive, voice, and her obvious genuine belief in what she was singing about.

Dara Tucker hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was born to a musical family, has won many awards in the USA, and has performed internationally since 2009. She has previously issued four studio albums but this album is different. It consists of fresh, jazz arrangements of singer-songwriter and soul compositions, protest songs from the 1960s and 1970s. So we get songs by the likes of James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, and Paul Simon, plus the traditional Wade in the Water and Ms Tucker's own song Do We Sleep?

Ms Tucker's intention was to give voice to the cry for change and social justice which has swept the USA since the death of George Floyd. She is well assisted in this by her skilled instrumentalists, especially the pianists, and they get lots of solo work. Do We Sleep? is sung with feeling, lyrics such as 'Do we hear the cries of the broken, or do we sleep?' The clarion cry of You Haven't Done Nothing is emphasised by the saxophone playing between the lines of song, Bridge Over Troubled Water is sung very slowly over rich jazzy accompaniment; Make Someone Happy, by contrast is performed intimately with just voice and piano trio.

Wade In The Water gives us a gospel sound and a short bass solo. (Did you know about the fascinating secret code in this song? It is said that slaves escaping from the plantations were advised to swim in water so that they would lose scent and the slave owner’s dogs wouldn't be able to track them.).

The CD ends in thoughtful, sombre fashion with Randy Newman's pessimistic ironic song about 'human kindness', I Think It's Going to Rain Today, well-illustrated by heavy, low piano chords.

The album is highly recommended and available everywhere from May 28 on the Green Hill Productions label. Ann Alex

Secret Of Life; You Haven't Done Nothin; Someday We'll All Be Free; Do We Sleep?; Bridge Over Troubled Water; Make Someone Happy; What The World Needs Now; What's Going On; Love's In Need Of Love Today; You've Got A Friend; Wade in the Water; I Think It's Going To Rain Today.

2 comments :

Russell said...

Ann, you need to burn the midnight oil. Four or five of these guys are regulars at Smalls in NYC (all gigs are livestreamed, 23:00, 00:30 etc BST). Cyrus Chestnut played Newcastle's Riverside with Wayne Shorter and Sullivan Fortner works with Cecile McLorin Salvant.

Ann Alex said...

RuRussell, Thanks for all the information but I checked out only Dara Tucker on Wikipedia. I rarely include any biographies of the instrumentalists as it would make the review too long for a CD which features the singer mainly

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