July 2009 Jazz Improv® NY
Review: Dennis Day All Things in Time
By Cathy Gruenfelder
All Things In Time may be Dennis Day’s first jazz album, but it is the work of a veteran singer who has paid plenty of dues and has already found a high level of success in other markets. He recorded with Steeltown Records as lead singer of the Valients, the label that first recorded the Jackson Five, and he also was a featured vocalist with The Jades, in which he recorded “My Loss, Your Gain” for Decca Records. He currently leads jazz groups in New York City, and was recently selected as one of six singers to lead the Jazz Vocalist Workshops at the famous Blue note Jazz Club.
As soon as I pressed play I was struck by a feeling that to me is the characteristic reaction to a real jazz singer – that feeling is a sort of joyful anticipation of surprises that you know will be at every turn, and it is also due to a connection with authenticity. Dennis Day is wholeheartedly Dennis Day – he lets go, and sings in the moment. His sense of phrasing is in no way outlined before the song begins. He is as unaware of how he may phrase it as I am – at least that’s the impression that I get as a listener, and it is a very important impression to get!
Also impressive is his ability to go from deep brooding ballads to joyful flamboyant up-tempo numbers, pulling off each tune as effectively as the next. Ballads include “Everything Must Change,”
“You Are Too Beautiful,” and “Who Can I Turn To?” Another element of his style is more exotic and adventurous deliveries, exemplified on tunes like “Caravan,” and his original composition “African
Musings,” on which he provides some tribal and animalistic vocal effects.
Day’s tone, as perfectly described in the liner notes by Herb Boyd, is “a pleasant baritone, with dollops of second-tenor silkiness.” Day doesn’t take himself too seriously, and as a result, you can hear in his voice how good he feels when he is singing – even when he is expressing sadness – you can feel the catharsis that takes place for him. All Things In Time is quite the debut record from this authentic jazz crooner. There’s also one more not so minor detail – the band is killing!
All THINGS IN TIME-D-Day Media Group
1. Caravan; 2. African Musing; 3. Sister Sadie; 4. Everything Must Change; 5. Trouble Down Here Below; 6. You Are Too Beautiful; 7. Taking a Chance On Love; 8. Hallelujah, I Love Her So!; 9. Desifinado; 10. The Trolley Song/Get Me To The Church OnTime; 11. Blues Medley; 12. Who Can I Turn To?
PERSONNEL: Dennis Day, vocals; Danny Mixon, piano (tracks 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11); John DiMartino, piano (tracks 1, 7, 12); John Miller, piano (tracks 3, 6, 8); Lisle Atkinson, bass (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12); Eric Lemon, bass (tracks 3, 8); Earl Grice, drums (tracks 1 – 12); Willie Martinez, percussion (tracks 2, 9); Stefon Harris, marimbas (track 2); Jason Curry, alto sax (tracks 3, 6, 8); Cleave Guyton, flute (track 4), alto sax (track 11); James Zollar, trumpet (tracks 10, 11); Joey Morant, trumpet (tracks 3, 8); Melvin Sparks, guitar (track 5); Wycliffe Gordon, trombone (track 3)