Roberta Donnay is an uncommon jazz singer with an extensive background voicing soundtracks for film, television and awards programs as well as performing in the rock music world. Her foray into jazz led to an appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2003 where she performed with saxophonist Dave Ellis and the rest is history. Donnay seems a natural for jazz possessing a sultry voice that compares to the late great Billie Holiday.
Although she has six previous recordings to her credit, What’s Your Story is her debut album in the realm of jazz. With the exception of one original, the CD contains a repertoire of selected standards not often played and presented in a bluesy/jazzy fashion.
Beginning with the Mary Lou Williams "What’s Your Story, Morning Glory," her voicing of the tune recalls the magic of Billie Holiday. If you closed your eyes you could swear you were hearing Holiday sing on "Life In The Slow Lane." It would be unfair to suggest she’s no different than the late singer for Donnay’s voice carries her own unique style that does come through on other tracks.
Donnay sings with warmth and elegance on the slow ballads of "Small Day Tomorrow," the familiar pop tune, "Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Cryin,’ " the Mercer/Tauber "Drinkin’ Again," and finally, the absolutely beautiful Antonio Carlo Jobim classic "Dindi."
Donnay contributes one original composition with the very jazzy "Stop This Train!" containing a wonderful solo by pianist Eric Reed. The singer steps it up on the up-tempo "Devil May Care" featuring a stylish tenor solo by saxophonist Dave Ellis who graces the album on several other cuts.
Aside from players Reed and Ellis, Donnay is joined here by bassist Gerald Cannon and Mark Taylor on the drums to complete Donnay’s musical support. What’s Your Story succeeds in telling a musical tale of a beautiful young lady of jazz just beginning her journey in what we hope will be a musical best seller.