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Parallel Realities by Gail Dobson

Gail Dobson is a vocalist and music educator who has been active in the San Francisco Bay area for many years. She is perhaps not as well known as her husband, pianist and arranger Smith Dobson, who ran the Jazz Series at The Garden City Restaurant in San Jose, a gig that lasted 20 years for which Dobson booked and performed with many fine jazz players such as as Mundell Lowe, Stan Getz, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Harold Land, Red Holloway, Toot Thielmans, Tal Farlow, Sonny Stitt, McCoy Tyner, Sheila Jordan, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Terry Gibbs and other artists of similar stature. Dobson often performed with his wife, vocalist Gail, daughter Sasha, and son, Smith Jr., as the Dobson Family Band. Unfortunately, Smith Dobson passed away unexpectedly after an auto accident (see: Gail has issued this album, partially, at least, as a tribute to her late husband.

The way Gail has chosen to remember her late husband is to use some of his writing on the recording; he was responsible for the arrangements on tracks 3, 5 & 8 and for the chord changes used on tracks 4, 5 & 6. Of these, The Dolphin is perhaps the most successful, while Gail's decision to use several of her vocal students as a back up group on Over The Rainbow is a nice touch. As accompanists, Dobson has gathered together a who's who of Bay Area musicians, including Smith Jr., and they acquit themselves well, with nice solos from Koga, Strom and Sorkin. And it is refreshing to hear a clarinetist--Ben Goldberg of The New Klezmer Trio-- utilized on this kind of material, particularly on The Dolphin, I Hear A Rhapsody,and Blue In Green.

Gail Dobson is clearly still a force in the Bay Area jazz scene, even after her husband's passing. She is particularly proud of her work as an educator. More power to her.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Gail Dobson
  • CD Title: Parallel Realities
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: lifeforcejazz
  • Tracks: Agua De Beber, Centerpiece, Parallel Reflections/Nefertiti, The Dolphin, I Hear A Rhapsody, Favela, Blue In Green, Over The Rainbow, Old Country, When Youre Smiling'
  • Musicians: Gail Dobson, Sasha Dobson [2 & 7] - vocals; Scott Sorkin - guitar; John Shifflett - bass; Smith Dobson V - drums; Masaru Koga - flute [1 & 6], tenor sax [3]; Kristen Strom - flute [4], soprano sax [3], tenor sax [6 & 9]; Ben Goldberg - clarinet [4, 5 & 7]
  • Rating: Two Stars
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