There is nothing quite like Vancouver vocalist Dee Daniels' dark contralto with it's huge four-octave range. Even with such vocal chops, however, she makes every nuance noticeable, offering exhilarating, well-shaped notes and phrases. Her signature dramatic sense and emotional thrust are ever-present in this album ? traits apparent to the lucky patrons who heard her co-emcee the National Jazz Awards in 2006.
On a dozen tunes she dances around the time with her strong supporting trip ? pianist Tony Foster, bassist Russ Botten, and drummer Greg Williamson. The vocal veteran started singing in pop/rock genres, and in church, and the former influence explains her almost startling choice on repertoire on this album, which includes hits from her youth penned by the likes of Otis Redding, Lionel Richie, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder and Elvis Presley. The result is a delightful potpourri fuelled by bluesy momentum that puts most of today's "jazz" singers to shame. The only aspect soiling perfection is a tendency to over-ornament slow ballads, like Richie's "Hello", Wonder's "Another Star" and Presley's "Love Me Tender". Otherwise, this journey ? made two decades after her immersion into mainstream jazz ? is a rich-textured marvel of fresh-polished looks at classics of yore.
Standout tracks include the bustling "Can't Hide Love", Bye, Bye Love", "Deed I Do", What a Fool Believes", a brilliant "Respect", an impressive "Fire and Rain". Present is just one original track: her melancholic "The Thought of You". It's all so good you'd believe every song here was written by jazzers for jazzers.