Dee Daniels, Intimate Conversations
(Origin Records). Dee Daniels sang once with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and though the concert was in 2002, I remember distinctly how good she was. She brought great emotion to a bunch of Ellington songs, and she sang the heck out of the blues. She was fun to write about, too. It's not every day you can report accurately: "She held that note until it was thin as a ribbon, then fattened it out and pulled it down into the lowlands." In short, it's great to hear from Dee Daniels again after all these years. She is in good company, too. She is joined by musicians including but not limited to Cyrus Chestnut on piano. Wycliffe Gordon on trombone, Houston Person on sax and Russell Malone on guitar. There are tremendous growly sax and trombone solos, almost like another singer, and Daniels responds to that vibe. ("All the Way" has to be heard to be believed.) The atmosphere is gritty and Tin Pan Alley. Daniels plays piano for herself in Leon Russell's "A Song For You," a kind of signature song for her. My one criticism of Daniels is that she doesn't quite have the romance bit down. In "Exactly Like You" she doesn't sound exactly loving. "Come Try My Love," a tune of iffy quality that Daniels wrote, lacks that note of longing. The antagonistic blues "Don't Touch Me" sounds like it's more her speed. Then again, sometimes recordings can be a bit sterile.