Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Some things never go out of style, like the classic combination of a talented jazz quartet performing heartfelt love songs. Tucsonan Diane Van Deurzen proves that point on her latest release, I Never Knew (Owl's Nest Productions). Backed by the multi-talented Lisa Otey, Steve Grams and Fabrice Bessouat, Van Deurzen's voice is warm and soothing, pouring out the lyrics with effortless control. She shows great skill in choosing standards, like the haunting "Autumn Leaves," the wistful "A Sunday Kind of Love," or even the dramatic "Not While I'm Around" from Sondheim's wonderfully macabre Sweeney Todd. Without ever getting syrupy, Van Deurzen manages to pack a lot of emotion into her delivery (many young singers would do well to listen to her version of "That Lucky Old Sun" for notes on how to do that). She is very well served by the instrumentation on this album, especially the piano accompaniment. Fans of Lisa Otey know that she has boogie-woogie chops that can knock you out, but she also is brilliant at the subtle stuff, laying in a delicate melody line that perfectly reflects the meaning of each song. Grams' bass lines, and Bessouat's understated percussion work add layers of meaning, creating a sonic painting that is expertly captured by Jim Brady's mix. Covers aside, Van Deurzen also shows that she has solid songwriting talents with the title track and "Walk My Honey Path," which spotlights Carla Brownlee, Liz McMahon and Regina Wills (and features the powerfully evocative lyrics, "When I sleep, I open my window/ And I beg the moon to press its face against mine/ I invite you to breathe me in/ Press your lips against me/
-Scott Barker, Tucson Lifestyles, February 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Forget dinner and a show; try these Valentine's dates
By Gerald M. Gay
Tucson, Arizona Published: 01.25.2007
"You already make beautiful music together. Take a break and watch others make it with a trip to Z Mansion, 288 N. Church Ave., for some 'Hot Love,' the third installment of a series that looks at the sensual side of music. "
Thursday, January 11, 2007
RHYTHM & VIEWS (01-11-2007)
By Gene Armstrong
DIANE VAN DEURZEN
I Never Knew
Idealized romanticism, frank sensuality and a realistic sense of heartbreak are some of the themes among the original tunes and standards performed by Tucson jazz-pop torch singer Diane Van Deurzen on her debut album.
Van Deurzen's originals, the lush title track and sly, sexy "Walk My Honey Path," co-written with pianist Lisa Otey, are the real deal--sterling examples of cabaret charm imbued with Van Deurzen's delicate, perfectly modulated and controlled--but also slightly bluesy--vocals.
"Song That Can Never Be Sung," written by saxophonist Carla Brownlee, offers a warm, comforting jazz meditation with masterly piano trio accompaniment by Otey, bassist Steve Grams and especially drummer Fabrice Bessouat, whose restrained style is ideal for this material.
Although her style recalls the classic jazz divas, Van Deurzen actually can turn a phrase with the precision and warm intimacy of Karen Carpenter. Van Deurzen's one of the finest instinctually pure singers I have heard since that hallowed '70s pop stylist.
She carefully treads the thin line that separates endearing torch-carrying from obsessive love, as on "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," or "Where Time Stands Still," in which remorse and regret are tempered by fond memories.
The deliciously languorous "A Sunday Kind of Love" hearkens back to a time when class and sophistication characterized the best jazz singers. Perhaps the finest and most heartfelt track is "That Lucky Old Sun," in which Van Deurzen flirts with a gospel soulfulness, and Otey plays rich chords that sound as if they were transported to 2007 from the antebellum South.