Noting the quite eclectic choice of songs ranging from the Great American Songbook to modern pop and chart hits, I wasn't sure what to make of Paulette Dozier or In Walked You's potential, but it took no more than the first few bars of the opening cut, Mancini/Mercer's Days of Wine and Roses, to assure me that naught was amiss, I was in good hands, and in for a very good time indeed. Dozier has a clear, strong, confident voice that backs off of nothing, especially not the skoobly-op scats or side riffs providing intriguing fills all over the place as she works her way through each track. Listen, f'rinstance, as she takes Billy Joel's Just the Way You Are ten steps further into its swingin' baseline.
Then, especially in solos, producer Mike Levine often plays his piano with a satisfyingly stuttery bop-step that underscores the propulsive nature of the ensemble's work, and, man!, Sammy Levine is a very sophisticated drummer while bassist Jamie Ousley steps in as the bottom-most anchor in the rhythm section, garrulous and creative but the cement providing the groundwork. Dozier dances atop all that, free to bend the staves and measures to her liking, riffing off the chord changes, taking the ambiance up and down the scale at will, generally making hay while the sun shines. Then comes the title ballad, composed by her and Levine, and we readily see the elementality of her foundation, one of conviction and sincerity rather than the breathy mousy vulnerability too often posed elsewhere.
In fact, three cuts here were written by the pair and accord themselves quite well with the elder canon, that way cool Songbook forum, but Dozier really cuts the classic Sunny a deeper groove just before swinging Proud Mary, the song I'd initially been most trepidatious of, around the room and up the Mississippi in grand fashion. The famed Ira Sullivan sits in on a cut but just as tasty is Domenica Fossatti's flutework (2 tracks) and Nicole Yarling's violin (1 cut only, unfortunately). And should you want a self-comparative for this singer: she was chosen to portray Billie Holiday in the acclaimed Lady Day at the Emerson Bar & Grill. She also enjoys a reputation in Europe and has toured East Coast America and Italy. My favorite cut? I'm highly enamored of Wine and Roses, but Dozier brings a stateliness to her reworking of Summer Breeze that reminds me of Van Morrison…and I'm damned if I can choose between the two.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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