Vocalist/pianist? Pianist/vocalist? The word for Dena DeRose is simply "musician" and her Live at Jazz Standard (Volume One)
is a treat. This session, recorded in March 2007, features standards and a few more recent offerings. DeRose is introspective on her solo track, "A Table Set for Solitude," and takes leave of the piano for an innovative exploration of " I Fall In Love Too Easily" in the company of Joel Frahm and his tenor sax. Her voice is mellow and she is a gifted accompanist who knows exactly where to place those chords.
The trio of DeRose on piano, Martin Wind on bass and drummer Matt Wilson swings like mad. They've been together for over seven years and play as one. DeRose is a formidable player, comfortable anywhere on the keyboard as she spins lines and lays down massive chords. Wind is equally agile on bass and an innovative soloist. Their strength allows Wilson to really work those cymbals without overpowering the music. DeRose's liner notes state that her version of "Get Out of Town" was "somewhat inspired by Elvin Jones' and McCoy Tyner's playing." You'll feel their presence of those two masters throughout the session. Listen in particular to DeRose and Wilson as they wind up the trio's edgy version of "Lover."
DeRose also brings new life to old favorites as she takes "Alone Together" uptempo, adds a new level of feeling to "Green Dolphin Street" and serves up a bop/vocalese "It Could Happen to You." She also wrote the lyric,"Why?" for "This is Love," a beautiful Latin-tinged tune by Philippe Petruciani.
A trained pianist, DeRose discovered her vocal talents when sidelined for two years by carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis. There's a saying about being handed a lemon and making lemonade. Somehow Dena DeRose made champagne. Her trio is the most exciting group I've heard in a long while and I can't wait to hear Volume Two.