Dena is one of the bright up and coming Jazz vocalists who will help define the Jazz singer for the new millennium. Smooth, sassy and with wonderful phrasing, Dena is on the cusp of becoming a fine interpreter of song.
Her version of "You Don't Know What Love Is" kicks of the recording with an interpretation that is smooth, a bit sassy, and thoroughly enjoyable. Steve Wilson has a wonderful solo which glides along like Butter on bread, before Dena displays her piano skills.
One of Frank Sinatra's signature tunes, "In The Wee Small Hours" is a perfect example of how Dena paces herself throughout the piece with conviction and taste. This number is a true test of how to handle a lyric. Dena's gentle pace leads into a great Trombone intro from Steve Davis. Upping the tempo for Dena to take off with the remainder of this piece in a controlled, yet lyrical manner.
For Many years, Randy Weston's classical composition, Hi-Fly has been a favorite for many musicians. The structure of the piece allows musicians to display their skills. Dena's piano intro is simply gorgeous. The band segues into Dena's world, and all the while Dena is having the time of her life on the piano. Her style reminds me a bit of Ahmad Jamal and the late Vince Guaraldi.
Trumpet player Ingrid Jensen's effective intro to Rodger and Hart's, "Spring Is Here" sets the tone for a joyous adventure, exploring the lyric with phrasing so sweet and uplifting from Dena's vocals. Again, her piano skills are in clear evidence throughout. Fun just oozes from her fingers. Dancing without a care over the 88's with beautiful chord structure. A winner. This piece belongs to Ingrid and Dena.
Benny Golson's deceptively simple melody, "Whisper Not" is handled with economy and a tip of the hat to it's composer. A simple melody that allows the musician to stretch out and play in and around the notes. Dena's piano is up for the task with a tasteful selection of notes (nods to McCoy Tyner) which carry her band through this classic.
Rob Bargad's "Another World" is another example of how to approach a ballad. This version just melts you with Dena's honest delivery.
This second recording from Dena is worth many listens. Her approach to a piece, her piano style, and the way that she carries her group bode well for this up and coming artist. Her many skills, including her vocal ability show that she is indeed serious about her craft and will be around for some time to come. Here's looking forward to future releases.