DENA DEROSE: THE BUZZ
Travelin' Light is stupid good! (It had to be said)...This is the Dena Derose release I had been waiting for! While her discography is as solid as they come, Travelin' Light is easily her best work to date. From pristine sound to impeccable vocal phrasing and a solid lyrical swing to her performance, Derose hits all the right notes - literally!
Maxjazz is a record label of note for the more straight ahead jazz aficionado. The label does not go outside of the box so to speak, they don't need to. Maxjazz knows what they do and they do it incredibly well as is shown with this stellar release.
There are other artists that have released similar recordings but they tend to have the lounge lizard effect of cocktail hour jazz that has a shelf life measured in days or weeks. Derose elevates her game with an outstanding selection of tunes, not necessarily the shop worn classics but slightly more eclectic which gives the release tremendous charm and character. A solo release as Derose will tell you is a daunting task. The artist is left completely exposed. There is no band to hide behind and "fixing it in the mix" is literally impossible. These songs were handpicked by Derose and include "East Of The Sun" and the great Johnny Mercer & Jerome Kern number "I'm Old Fashioned. For far too long Derose has flown under some writers radar but this release should turn heads quickly. Derose has a innate gift of swing and vocals that are smooth yet soulful with just a hint of a smokey finish. An intimate reharmonization of the George and Ira Gershwin tune "S' Wonderful" is simply gorgeous. Yet another winner would be the subtle blues infusion on another tune co-written by Johnny Mercer titled "Travelin' Light." There are simply no bad numbers on this release.
Dena Derose stated this was a release that she had in mind for some time and with the perfect tunes and the right place for recording this project coupled with a stellar audience Travelin' Light is virtually flawless. An intimate experience with a gifted artist who is raising the bar for others to follow.
- Brent Black