Originally published in Earshot Jazz May 2014
Another recording of standards by vocalist Dee Daniels? Yes! State of the Art on Criss Cross Jazz is not neophyte music bending the boundaries of genre but rather a solid statement of mature personal artistry.
The great thing about Daniels is her sound – unique, dark and warm – and it fills every track. Her tone emanates from deep within her torso, her heart to be exact. Her voice is so enchanting that the words she sings almost don’t matter. Almost, but she does respect the lyric. Her inflections don’t ignore the songwriter’s words – they add color, spirit and soul. Daniels embodies the music, the sound becomes flesh.
Because the repertoire of standards is so familiar, listeners are free to marvel at the evergreen youthfulness and world wise breadth of Daniels’ life experience in her interpretation. She was belting jazz from the Seattle Opera House stage way back in 1974, circling the globe on her talent as she grew. Over the span of her ascending musical life, the sound of her distinct gracious voice spread to stages in Europe, Asia, and South America.
The generosity evident in her tone and delivery spills over to the dedication she devotes to students. She directs the annual DeMeiro Jazz Fest in Edmonds, Washington, founded the Dee Daniels Vocal Jazz Workshop in Sitka, Alaska, has a Jazz Vocal Scholarship in her name at Capilano University, North Vancouver, BC, Canada and will serve as an Adjunct Professor at the Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College, New York.
After listening to State of the Art, I found myself singing “The Summer Wind” around the house, scrolling back several times to hear Daniels’ slowed down ballad version of the typically up-tempo “Cherokee.” With such a beautiful voice, why not take your time? In an era of increasing distraction and decreasing attention span, Daniels voice opens a door to savoring the act of listening here and now.
Visit https://www.deedaniels.com/ to read more about Dee.