THANK GOD A JAZZ SINGER FINALLY COVERED CALIFORNIA DREAMIN AND DID IT A RIGHTEOUS!!! I've been waiting for that for four decades! Sure, we got the Jazz Lite version on goofy Emil Richards type novelty slabs (for your guilty pleasure) and then those Mantovani and 101 Strings gigs (so ya could throw up and clear your tummy out), but Donna Deussen knocks it screaming out of the ballpark. John Philips, were he still with us, would be exultant. Ah, but let's not stop at Johnny 'cause the very next cut is Steely Dan's Do Right Shoes, and Don Fagen's gonna go into rapture when he hears this version. As I've been noting for some time now, it's well past the moment the successors to The Great American Songbook were covered, and that sentiment's slowly spreading to the jazz world, Deussen making excellent contributions (her take on Joni's Both Sides Now isn't radicalized but it's very very sweet, even to the point of multi-tracking a duet with herself, and I love it when singers do that).
Deussen's version of On the Street Where You Live is OUTSTANDING (geez, I better knock off the capitalizations or the whole review is going to be nothing but!), taking the chestnut sprinting down to the end of the pier and jumping off to dance the Lindy Hop with amped-up mermaids, swingin' and then some. You have not, I guaranfuckingtee, heard the hoary ol' chestnut done like this before. Deussen is an extremely confident singer; I don't think it's possible for her to make even the most minor mistake or for a microsecond quaver in her choices. As Anthony Braxton noted of Paul Desmond's sax playing, you can tell she knows exactly what the next 10 moves are going to be while simultaneously permanently in the pocket, forever in the moment, and then projecting forward to where everything should lead.
It's a CRIME that this is only Deussen's second slab. She should have 10 out by now, be soundtracked in movies, appear on TV, and find herself featured in Playboy Jazz Fests. Paul Weitz was a great choice on guitar, bassist Matt Vanbenschoten is capable of muscular bass work (catch those tightly groovin' lines in Black Coffee / A Night in Tunisia), but Wayne Wayne's sax work stands out most in accompaniment, his tone as pure as hers, the élan a match for Deussen's irrepressability. Too bad he's only on three cuts. And Donna, ya might guess by the presence of that element, isn't just tackling the rockers and folkers but also all the jazzbos whose work has slowly come under reconsideration lately: Horace Silver, Ray Noble, etc.
Take my word for it, y'all, this is one of the country's most talented singers, one of the best I've EVER heard, On the Street a definite in the year's 30 Best were FAME continuant…and 'member: there are 50,000 albums in The Tucksonian Library Of Indispensible Tunery, so I have a pretty good idea whereof I speak. All you need do to gain admission to the museum is listen to music like this.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles