Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Glamorous Grit of Old Hollywood

Greetings,

Mike Davis, of Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion, provided this wonderful unsolicited review of Albumette

Artist: Deborah E
Album: Albumette
Review by Mike Davis, Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion

Some time ago, a friend’s father spoke of his love for jazz and blues and the vibrant scene in Los Angeles of musicians and clubs that livened and delighted his nights off. When I listen to the Albumette EP from Deborah E, I get a sense as to what those nights must have felt like and the possibility still gleaming in the nooks and crannies of the city. The five-song effort wastes no moment setting a scene and tone for the listener to be enveloped in. It drips with notions of small corner stages in smoky, cocktail soaked lounges and the glamorous grit of old Hollywood, while maintaining an indefinable essence that imbues the songs with contemporary relevance and vivacity beyond mere nostalgia. Deborah E, or Lady D as referenced by admirers, possesses in her voice an instrument bound by no clear limits. It is sultry, dynamic, gripping, and above all else full of grace. Whether crooning to classics tackled by the likes of Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, and Roberta Flack, or bringing all new compositions to life, Lady D has a distinctive flair that draws you in to consider her offerings with only her rendition in mind. Albumette is a beautiful collection of jazz and blues colored songs that hits every note, melancholic and jubilant, with precision and elegance.

Track 1: Black Coffee – Penned in the 1940s, “Black Coffee” naturally sounds the most classic and evocative of some distant and beautiful time. However, Deborah E pumps newly oxygenated blood into its arteries and resuscitates its heart here and now the way Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and many others did in their time. Her voice slinks along over the orchestration like indigo silk, making for a swooning and sexy interpretation.

Track 4: Perfectly Wonderful World – One of three new original songs exclusive to Albumette, “Perfectly Wonderful World” sounds like a standard that could have been a staple in any songstresses set in the 30s or 40s, yet Lady D makes it all her own. Her voice flows languid and delicate over sparkling piano sweeps and fine jazzy guitar lines. A song that sets a high bar for what will surely attract others in attempting to recapture its magic.

Track 5: Only Temporary – Another original composed by Denny Martin & Jaimee Paul for Deborah E, “Only Temporary” is the sassy and blazing close to Albumette. It is a tenacious blues number laden with overdriven guitar licks, jiving B3 organ, and saxophone lines that sound like strained impulsive bolts from the throat of some possessed bluesman. A humorous ode to the passing anxieties and darkness of life fully lived.


Review by Mike Davis
Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

...Whatever Song She Chooses To Conquer...

Good morning,

Ms. O’Neil describes the versatility of talent on Albumette, including the exceptional band mates and recording engineers! Read more, below:

Artist: Deborah E
Album: Albumette
Review by Kelly O’Neil

Lots of stereotypes surround redheads, including that they are sassy, snobby and will steal your boyfriend. Whether or not those trivialities hold true, what can be said about one particular Los Angeles-based redhead is that she commands attention. Deborah E possesses an incredible deep-throated voice that obeys whatever direction she tells it to go. Her singing style is captivating and mature without losing itself in a quandary of sentimental emotions

Heralding not only jazz but Broadway and soul influences, Lady D, as she is affectionately called, exhibits a wide array of equally enrapturing vocal styles. She opens her EP Albumette with Paul Francis Webster and Sonny Burke’s standard “Black Coffee,” scantily crawling around in her lower register. Each syllable is as rich and dark as the title suggests. Every vocal turn is impeccably smooth, perfectly timed and expertly handled.

Deborah performs a credible cover of the unassuming masterpiece “Killing Me Softly,” first done by Roberta Flack and later by The Fugees. The tempo may be a hair too fast, but the well-known ballad plays out predictably. Deborah sings more upright and straight than in the jazz numbers where her voice is covered in a mysterious sultry shroud. The acoustic guitar player adds wonderful embellishments from the line “Strumming my pain with his fingers,” to the tasteful bridge solo over subtle strings. “Perfectly Wonderful World” opens with a nice piano and string duet. Deborah is singing at her highest and most crystalline yet in this happy ballad. The first half of the bridge loses energy with her soprano musings that are scarcely heard above the instruments. In the second half the piano comes to the fore with a droll tinkling solo with light drum and string accompaniment.

A dynamic aspect of Albumette is the recording quality. With a slight echo resounding from the vocals it sounds as if the album were recorded live and thus inviting a more intimate aural experience for the listener. “Just Say When” adds to this quality with its perky upbeat vibe. The song is in a higher vocal range resulting in clearer enunciation. Deborah has collaborated with a phenomenal group of musicians, notably the saxophonist in this tune. His tone is not obnoxiously bright, and not too mellow either, creating a nice blend with the vocals. The extended coda featuring a dialogue between the saxophone and the organ is a treat worth mentioning.

The big production number and grand finale to Albumette is “Only Temporary.” This rocking number has empowering vocal breaks between heavy downbeats as Deborah mockingly sings tongue-in-cheek about her cruddy job and crummy boyfriend but then positively belts out that both of these misfortunes are “only temporary.” The walking blues line in the bridge is the perfect backdrop for an awesome growling saxophone duet giving way to the thrilling electric guitar. The song remains surprisingly upbeat despite, “Sometimes this life may get a little scary / But it’s only temporary.” It is a fantastic sentiment coupled with an infectious groove. The saxophone leads into a formidable jam that begins in the same call and response as the opening. Then he cuts loose running up and down the full range of the horn, even jumping effortlessly into the altissimo range. The electric guitar joins in with a slight overdrive effect taking the song out.

Lady D and her band mates are exceptionally talented musicians and have chosen a fantastic collection of songs to best showcase their gifts on Albumette. Deborah has an awesome vocal range and easily wraps her voice around whatever song she chooses to conquer.

Review by Kelly O’Neil

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cyndi Lauper : Memphis Blues

Good morning,

Today I am thinking about an album by Cyndi Lauper. No, it is not the traditional Cyndi Lauper, as in her album, "The Essential Cyndi Lauper." Rather, it is the album, "Memphis Blues."

I have to admit, at first, I was not impressed. (Sorry, Cyndi.) I did not feel she had "the feel" for blues. I thought, yeah, another crossover... But, then, as I listened more and more, I grew to be more and more fond of the music. When I got to a point that I "craved" another listen to her album I realized that maybe I had misjudged it.

What is the definition of "feel" and who am I to determine who has it and who does not have it?

The instrumentation on this album is wonderful. I hear a Billie Holiday influence throughout the album. On "How Blue Can You Get?" I can hear Cyndi's vocal stylings, as she interprets the Blues. Can't help but groove to the classic "Early In the Morning." "Crossroads" shows how Cyndi can stretch that interpretation, and yet keep with the Cyndi musical expression blended into this new genre.

Ok, maybe I still really enjoy Cyndi in true "Cyndi Lauper style," but this album? Well, I'm up for another spin. Take a listen, for yourself:



-Deborah E
Jazz Singer
♫ Scat N Style ♫
deborah.info
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Albumette… Leaving them wanting more…

Good morning,

Mr. Warnock describes Albumette as an EP that spans different genres, something of interest to all audiences. Read more, below.
Artist: Deborah E
Album: Albumette
Review by Matthew Warnock

Becoming a great jazz or blues singer takes long hours in smoky clubs, years listening and learning from the greats, and a hefty dose of natural talent to build from. Vocalist Deborah E is an artist that has all of the above and more, all of which shine through on her EP Albumette. Floating between jazz and blues, taking the best of both worlds and blending them in a unique and highly personalized way, the talented singer gives a world class performance on this 5 song record, giving listeners a taste of her musical palette and leaving them wanting more after the final notes have drifted away. Albumette is exactly what an EP should be. It provides a diverse glimpse of what the artist can do without giving too much away, and intriguing the audience enough to check out more material. On both fronts Deborah and the album are successful.

As a vocalist, Deborah possesses a strong instrument, but even more importantly, she is able to inject her personality into each note and phrase. It’s never enough to just be able to sing in tune to be successful and Deborah knows this. She knows when to growl and when to soar, when to get quiet and when to peak the faders, just when one thinks they know what is coming next, she brings a new vocal timbre to the mix, increasing the intensity and audience engagement at the same time. In a day and age when many singers are manufactured in board rooms and get signed without ever having sung on a gig, Deborah is a breath of fresh air. Her sultry vocal style, coupled with a high level of musicianship, leave the impression that she has honed her craft by hitting the bandstand night after night. She sings from the heart, and immediately connects with the audience on a deep level, two reasons that the EP comes across as well as it does.




Floating between jazz and blues, taking the best of both worlds and blending them in a unique and highly personalized way, the talented singer gives a world class performance on this 5 song record, giving listeners a taste of her musical palette and leaving them wanting more after the final notes have drifted away.



The arrangements and backing band are also very strong throughout. From the jazzy piano and guitar on top of string pads on “Perfectly Wonderful World” to the groovin’, bluesy sax lines on “Just Say When,” the band is in fine form and compliment Deborah’s vocals on each track, never becoming overbearing or too busy as they weave in between the singer’s phrases and lyrics. It is obvious that these guys can really play, and it would have been very easy for them to try and show off their skilled chops when given the chance. Each player prefers to focus on the emotional quality of their licks in situations where others might have gone straight to blistering chops instead. By doing so, they not only accentuate their musicianship, but they provide a solid backing for the vocals that comes across and an accompaniment and not competition for the limelight, as is too often the case.

Deborah E really brings her A game to Albumette, and the result is an EP that leaves listener’s ears satisfied and wanting more from the talented performer. With a little bit of everything, from jazz to blues to pop, on the record, fans of any or all of these genres will find something to enjoy, something that is hard to do with any recording. Though it is only 5 songs long, and even if it provokes anticipation of what is to come from Deborah and her group, this EP is definitely worth checking out as it stands out on its own as a work of artistic merit.

Review by Matthew Warnock
'Til Next Time,
-Deborah E
Jazz Singer
♫ Scat N Style ♫
deborah.info
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Only Temporary @ Viper Room Lounge

Good morning,

The video, below, filmed Live, Viper Room Lounge, West Hollywood CA

Thanks for the listen! :)

-Deborah E
Jazz Singer
♫ Scat N Style ♫
deborah.info
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Taming the Emotional Giant / Staying Up When Knocked Down


Good morning,

Have you ever noticed that it is a lot easier to magnify the negative comments that you hear about yourself than it is to remember the 1000 other positive comments that you have received from others? Have you ever caught yourself saying something less-than-positive about someone else and then, the next moment feeling the pain of an emotional jab in the gut? How about when the jab is from a close personal friend?



Ok, I've been struggling with the whole transparency thing here on this blog, wanting to talk positively about others more so than share what goes on in my head and potential vulnerabilities. I mean, really, doesn't everyone have something better to do?

It is that emotional giant that likes to peer it's nasty head and fire-breathing emotional ugliness our way that is on my mind this morning.



Coming from a family that emphasized over-achievement and seemed to have "forgotten" to say "I love you" with true sincerity (that was handled by throwing money at it), I have made daily efforts to strive to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Oh, yes, I am truly guilty of over-achievement, having my kids going without seeing me for sometimes, gulp, days, but they still tell me that I am the "best mommy in the whole world." Is that the view of a naive child that hopefully will not write a "Mommy Dearest" book later, or a true reflection of the results of efforts to remind them, every day, how much they are loved?

Well, lest I feed the emotional monster of guilt and negativity, even in this, my post, let me encourage you, today:

  1. Remember the positive. Soak it in. Relive it in your mind.
  2. Feeling a lack of the positive flow? Then create new positive flow. Look for someone who is sad. Give them a hug. Give them a smile. It is amazing how those good feelings multiply.
  3. Receive a negative comment, behavior, or look? Let it fall off you. Don't absorb it. If #1 doesn't help you deflect, than try #2.
  4. Remember your loved ones, those that love you most. Make sure when you close your eyes at night, you have given them positive vibes and love. Don't go to bed angry with them.
Life is short. You never know when you have traveled your last mile. Spread it with positive outflows and you will reap its benefits.

hugs to all,
-Deborah E
Jazz Singer
♫ Scat N Style ♫
deborah.info
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Elements of jazz, pop-rock, soul and blues...

Good morning,

Mr. Henderson explained my musical influences so well. Does he know me better than I know myself? Thanks for checking out this Albumette Review. :)

Artist: Deborah E
Album: Albumette
Review by Alex Henderson

Music has certainly had its share of generation gaps over the years. Just as there were members of the World War I Generation who didn’t understand the traditional pop crooners of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and members of the World War II Generation who never cared for rock & roll or funk, there are aging Baby Boomers who will never comprehend what members of Generation X and Generation Y see in hip-hop or alternative metal. But some artists make a point of looking to different generations for creative inspiration; for example, Nellie McKay and Norah Jones are two very different adult alternative singer/songwriters who have jazz and traditional pop influences as well as pop-rock and soul. On her five-song EP, Albumette, Los Angeles-based vocalist Deborah E leaves no doubt that more than one generation has affected her in a positive way. This is a recording that has one foot in swing, jazz-influenced traditional pop and jump blues and the other in pop-rock, soul and adult alternative, but Deborah never sounds confused or unfocused. In fact, she makes it sound perfectly natural for someone who has been influenced by Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald to also be cognizant of a rock & roll/R&B era. Deborah’s bio states that when she was growing up, she would watch Rosemary Clooney and Doris Day musicals one minute and “Soul Train” the next. Albumette bears that out.



This is a recording that has one foot in swing, jazz-influenced traditional pop and jump blues and the other in pop-rock, soul and adult alternative, but Deborah never sounds confused or unfocused. In fact, she makes it sound perfectly natural for someone who has been influenced by Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald to also be cognizant of a rock & roll/R&B era.



This EP gets off to a very bluesy and jazz-influenced start with a sultry performance of the old Paul Francis Webster/Sonny Burke standard “Black Coffee,” which goes back to the late 1940s and has been recorded by countless artists over the years. Lee’s influence is quite strong on “Black Coffee” (a song she recorded in the early 1950s), and the impact of the World War II Generation is equally evident on the playful, swinging “Just Say When” (which has a jump blues-ish energy). But again, Albumette is not a carbon copy of World War II generation music even though it gets a great deal of inspiration from that era. Deborah embraces one of the quintessential Baby Boomer classics when she performs “Killing Me Softly,” which was a major hit for Roberta Flack in 1973 and also became a big hit for the Fugees (with Lauryn Hill singing lead) 23 years later in 1996.

Flack, it should be noted, was a unique figure in 1970s music in that she managed to bridge the gap between the R&B world and the world of folk-rock, soft rock and singer/songwriters. Flack appealed to Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, and Judy Collins fans as well as to Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight fans. And the blend of soul and folk-rock/soft rock that she favored on “Killing Me Softly” made her recording so definitive that it is pointless for anyone to try to emulate it. The Fugees, wisely, took the gem in a hip-hop-influenced neo-soul direction rather than trying to emulate Flack’s recording, and Deborah is also smart enough to put her own personal spin on “Killing Me Softly.” Deborah’s version has R&B and pop-rock appeal, but it is also enjoyably jazzy. “Killing Me Softly” works well for Deborah because she sounds like herself instead of trying to sound like Roberta Flack.

Deborah has an introspective side as well as a fun side; “Black Coffee,” “Killing Me Softly” and “Perfectly Wonderful World” are examples of her introspective side, whereas her fun side asserts itself on “Just Say When” and “Only Temporary” (another track with a jump blues-like appeal). Easily the EP’s most humorous offering, “Only Temporary,” puts a positive spin on some negative things (including a bad job and a disappointing boyfriend) by concluding that they are, in fact, only temporary.

As strong as the jazz influence is on Albumette, those who are seriously into jazz will realize that Deborah isn’t a jazz purist or a straight-ahead bebopper. In other words, she doesn’t scat-sing her way through Charlie Parker’s “Ornithology” or Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t.” Deborah is a very different type of singer from, say, Kitty Margolis or Judy Niemack; that isn’t where she is coming from on this EP. Rather, Albumette’s strength lies in the L.A. resident’s ability to take elements of jazz, pop-rock, soul and blues and bring them together in an appealing, meaningful way. And her appreciation of different styles from different generations serves her well on the consistently enjoyable Albumette.

Review by Alex Henderson

'Til Next Time,
-Deborah E
Jazz Singer
♫ Scat N Style ♫
deborah.info
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Perfectly in sync..."

Good morning,

Just wanted to share a recent review of Albumette with my wonderful friends and fans. Here it is:

Artist: Deborah E
Album Title: Albumette
Review by Nick DeRiso

Deborah E brings a tough-minded attitude to Albumette, but don’t equate this jumping, jazzy five-song EP with your typical tell-off. Instead, she blends a spicy pair of originals with two tried-and-true ballads before sailing off into a pleasant reverie.

A sultry take on Donny Burke and Paul Francis Webster’s “Black Coffee” opens Albumette, with Deborah exhaling the familiar lines from a lonely lover like a long-awaited smoke. It’s an ambitious choice, considering the song has been covered by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to k.d. lang to the Pointer Sisters. But, with the help of her sinewy backing group and a gentle caress of the lyric, Deborah pulls it off. This talented group can swing through the chorus, propelled by a bawdy turn by Heinrich, only to slow all the way down for a late-night saloon sway.

Deborah is at her take-no-guff best on “Just Say When,” co-written by guitarist Denny Martin, Jaimee Paul and Alan O’Day. As her quippy rhythm section heats up to a rumbling boil, “Stop wasting that big old moon; wake up and smell the perfume!,” Deborah wails, while saxophonist John Heinrich hits a fat note. “Just say when, if you want to be more than friends.” Haughty and direct, she struts alongside drummer William Ellis, upright bassist Dow Tomlin and Hammond B3 player Gene Rabbai like Aimee Mann working a neon-lit Bourbon Street dive. Similarly, Deborah pushes back, and hard, on Martin and Paul’s “Only Temporary.” This ribald, rocking blues cut begins by channeling a downtrodden worker’s lament. “Want to tell him to stick this job where the sun don’t shine,” Deborah growls. Same goes for her good-for-nothing man, who spends more time on the couch watching Dr. Phil than he does trying to secure a new paycheck. When her dog bites the neighbor, it’s almost more than Deborah’s character can bear. “Seems like there’s nothing left to lose,” she admits, before rousing herself from the doldrums. “There’s ain’t no need to worry,” Deborah finally concludes, as Heinrich and Rabbai craft a trembling tower of soul behind her. “Sometimes this life can get a little bit scary, but it’s only temporary.”

That fierce confidence is mirrored in her choice of cover tunes, as Deborah takes on “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” If anything, this Charles Fox-Norman Gimble composition is more familiar. After all, it’s been both a chart-topping pop song in 1974 for Roberta Flack and then a Grammy-award winning hit for the Fugees in 1996. Deborah’s update fits somewhere in between, boasting a spritely swinging smooth-jazz sheen. Coupled with a more openly hopeful approach to the vocal, the tune is transformed from its once-expected deep dark despair into a moment of almost ethereal longing.

A similar romanticism permeates Deborah’s album closer, the happily content “Perfectly Wonderful World,” also written by Martin and Paul. “The moonlight lights a path on the sea … a warm breeze whispers my dreams,” Deborah sings, as Rabbai offers a series of meditative asides on the piano that take the listener out into the current’s soothing rhythms. Whatever troubles have come before, whatever heartache, disappear like the ebbing tide. It is, in its own way, the perfect conclusion. For all of her flinty determination, there is more to Deborah E than a strong voice and a strong will. Her ability, and her willingness, to reveal these eggshell vulnerabilities we all carry is what propels Albumette into new emotional places. Balancing the two might be more difficult across a long-playing release. But for now, in this five-song context, Deborah E has it perfectly in sync.

Review by Nick DeRiso

'Til Next Time,
-Deborah E
Jazz Singer
♫ Scat N Style ♫
deborah.info
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