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Julie Dunn

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Reviews of Julie Dunn

 

30/06/2007 Steve Gray, Pianist/Arranger

PRAISE FOR THE NEW ALBUM "WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT"
One of my favourite albums, as much for its title as for its content, is "Ruby Braff and Dick Hyman Play Nice Tunes".

So could this album have been called "Julie Dunn Sings Nice Songs"? Possibly, but many good things would have been missed. The limpid guitar of Phil Lee on "Close Enough For Love", for example; an accompaniment that fits like a velvet glove.

Then there's the subtle but solid swing of the rhythm team of Paul Morgan and Quinny Lawrence, and Ray Butcher giving us a comprehensive overview of 50 years of trumpet playing in the space of 24 bars. And there is so much that can be said about Tony Coe. He is truly one of the most original voices on saxophones and clarinet in jazz. His performances on this album are breathtaking.

John Horler, the chef d'orchestre, is another musician whose brilliance has become appreciated over the years. An accomplished pianist with a clear singing tone and a strong melodic gift, he is also an arranger whose understated style conceals an impressive technique. Try analysing the introduction to "Skylark" for a mini-master class in thematic development...

And of course we have Julie Dunn herself. Her unforced phrasing and her sense of rhythm are married to a voice that is rich, warm and infused with optimism; a very rare quality in jazz these days. All of these accomplishments are placed in the service of a wide and varied repertoire; one that includes both "Alfies" (I like that touch).

So: "Julie Dunn Sings Nice Songs Beautifully And In The Company Of Some Of The Best Musicians Around"? As an album title it's utterly hopeless; as an album description – bang on the money.


 

01/04/0008 Peter Quinn

Julie dunn/john horler trio with tony coe
What’s it all about
(33 jazz 161) ***
Julie Dunn’s follow up to her eclectic debut album strange but true sees her in the exalted company of Cleo Laine’s pianist John Horler and sax great Tony Coe. Compared to the debut , what’s it all about is a more focused, straight ahead offering, with Horler’s arrangements imbuing the standards-led collection with a real touch of class. Dunn’s appealing timbral shadings and expressive warmth make their mark on inventive versions of “Charade” (featuring Horler and guitarist Phil Lee in a great guitar/piano breakdown), a swinging “It’s All Right With Me” and a shimmering “You Go To My Head” .
It’s seemingly de rigueur for singers to include French language songs and Dunn includes two. The Gallic swing of “A L’Enterrement de Sidney Bechet” , a song associated with French chanteuse Patricia Kaas, works well, although a later reprise of “You Go To My Head” in French (“Vous M’Eblouissez”) seems to stretch the point a little. Though listed as playing sax only, Coe contributes some tasty work on clarinet, lighting up Dunn’s self-penned “Waiting Room Blues” with some unbelievably fast fingerwork.

Peter Quinn, Jazzwise April 2008

 

18/12/0007 Tony Cummings

Being a lover of female jazz divas who was brought up in a home where Ella, Sarah and the divine Carmen McCrae were a constant musical accompaniment to childhood games, I approached this album by Julie - a British jazz singer with a growing reputation in clubland - with considerable expectation, particularly as the accompaniment here was provided by the John Horler Trio and John is one of the finest pianists UK jazz has ever produced.
I wasn't disappointed. Julie's tone is rich and warm and she glides around the deft Oscar Peterson-style arrangements with the confidence that only the most experienced vocalists can muster. I loved Phil Lee's liquid guitar solo on "Charade" while the occasional trumpet interjections of Ray Butcher, as on the French language "A L'enterrement De Sidney Bechet" (a tribute to the legendary clarinet maestro) is a delight.
But above all I loved Julie's relaxed, understated vocals which recall those vocal giants of my childhood yet caricature none of them (which cannot always be said of Corinne Bailey Rae when she gets into Billie Holliday mode). Listen to the skilful way Julie rides the rhythm on one of the album's few originals, "Waiting Room Blues" – her own composition - while her lugubrious reading of "You Go To My Head" is just the kind of slinky music you want to hear in the wee small hours of the morning.
Julie shows herself here to be a top rate singer. As and when she plays a club near me I'll be there.
Tony Cummings Crossrhythms

 

01/12/0007 Keith Ames

JAZZ MASTERCLASS
Vocalist Julie continues her upward trend in jazz circles with this CD, the latest in a series of ever-improving releases. For this set, Julie has assembled a team of top flight jazz artists, including saxophonist Tony Coe, arranger John Horler, bassist Paul Morgan and drummer Quinny Lawrence. When artists of this calibre and Julie’s confident lead are combined with the songs of Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, and Burt Bacharach & Hal David, the result is a masterclass in small band jazz.
Keith Ames Musician Mag Winter '07

 

05/06/0007 Chris Parker, Vortex Jazz Club

REGARDING THE NEW ALBUM "WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT"
Whether she's singing familiar standards in a fresh, individual way or addressing original blues, Julie Dunn is a class act – warm, compelling, with an intelligent attitude to lyrics – and her band on this absorbing album is impeccable

 

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