Seattle-based Dawn Clement is an outstanding composer, arranger, pianist and vocalist. I make that assessment based on just this album.
She has played and recorded with several groups, including a previous release under her leadership, but this is my first exposure to her. My bad, in the words of today's youth.
Let's begin with her talen as a pianist: She's the most inventive, lyrical and swinging artist I've heard in years. Her covers of old standards such as "I've Told Every Little Star," "Sweet and Lovely" and "Dream a Little Dream of Me" are unique. Her innovative melodic lines keep you riveted to what she's doing; I simply couldn't take my ears off of her.
She sings in a higher register than most vocalists, but her phrasing is exquisite; you get the impression she's singing "just for you."
For this session, she used a rhythm section from New York: Dean Johnson on bass, and Matt Wilson on drums. Their arrangements are great, and they sound like they've been playing together for years.
Finally, based on a few quiet comments and exclamations at the end of several tunes, they're obviously really enjoying themselves.
Two of Clement's compositions are included here. "2 Day" is a quirky little up-tempo tune that will have your toes tapping, while "Singing Hands" is a neat, blues-based swinger. "Heaven," a lesser-known Ellington composition, closes out the set beautifully.
Clement not only plays and sings; she "thinks" her way through every tune. I'm positive that repeat renditions would be totally different from any previous versions... and all would be wonderful.
I'm going to pick up everything she has recorded to date, and I'm betting you'll want to do the same.