|Duke Robillard And His Dames Of Rhythm|
by Willard Manus
This new album is a case history in how to bring old-time jazz into the 21st century. Robillard, a founding member of Roomful of Blues and a sideman for Bob Dylan, Herb Ellis, Big Joe Turner and Ruth Brown, has invited six gal singers to his party, giving them (and musicians like Bruce Bears, Brad Hallen and Billy Novick) lots of room to kick back and have a ball investigating the Great American songbook.
Its a nifty idea, divvying up the singing chores like that, letting each vocalist take on a song thats right up her alley. Thus, Sunny Crownover, a belter, gets to attack From Monday On and My Heart Belongs to Daddy, and Catherine Russell, a torch singer, goes deep into Blues In My Heart and Lotus Blossom. Kelley Hunt, Elizabeth McGovern, Maria Muldaur and Madeline Peyroux also get their chance to strut their stuff, on a slew of songs ranging from the sultry Squeeze Me to the honky-tonk version of Please Dont Talk About Me When Im Gone.
fifteen songs on this cd, each of which is explored in depth (Easy
Living, the Leo Robin tune sung by Peyroux, runs nearly six minutes,
for example). You can just feel how grateful the singers and musicians
are, having been given the rare chance to stretch out to their hearts