News flash: I do not usually care for covers of The Beatles. No way. No how. Not cutesy cover bands; not musicians who try to sound like them; not cover music. The Beatles were unique...sui generis...no toca white man!
And so, when I was approached to review Daria's new album, Strawberry Fields Forever, I was friendly, but not enthusiastic. In the first place, I don't do many music reviews. In the second place, did I mention that I don't like covers of The Beatles? In the third place, see the first place. In the fourth place, see the second place.
But I've heard some of Daria's work before...the girl has got a musical way about her, without a doubt. In fact, she's got more Jazzic mojo going than some female jazz performers that I could name...but no, I'll resist that temptation.
A first-time listen to the whole thing...a break for a while...and then went back to it to see how it hung on my heart. Well, I have to admit it: Despite my skepticism, Daria and her ensemble (too many to mention; see the label website for the complete profile of the musicians) sung her way past my sleeping dragons, and touched my heart. Really.
The arrangements are lovely and Jazzic, with a variety of instrumentations and an excellent feel for the possibilities of The Beatles' compositions. The spirit of Jazz is improv, of course, and so don't expect simple covers here. Daria rules...she's the driving force at the core of each of these tracks, with compelling vocal performances and a smooth seduction in all of her musical insights. Her surety of interpretation and artistic execution are marvelous, and don't pall over time. Is there anything worse than boring jazz? And this isn't. Sweet and mellow, but done with mastery and a bit of an edge.
Great stuff! It won me over, despite my doubts...this was a solid! And highly recommended!