One of the many friends of JAZZ LIVES asked if I had heard the singer Dwayna Litz and sent along this YouTube video:
And I found this one on my own:
Now, I don’t know much about Dwayna Litz — aside from the fact that she has an attractive, beautifully focused voice. Her singing, at turns, suggests someone who could fill the hall or command the stage, but she isn’t restricted to capital letters. She doesn’t consider herself a “jazz singer” (and she leaves extended passages of scat-singing and “recomposing” melodies to others), but she swings.
And although she treats her material reverently, her natural exuberance comes through in every note. She has a fine vocal instrument, but best of all, she seems to have done the deep work of studying the music: she respects the song and gives the lyrics intelligent readings so that one comes away from her performance of SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME feeling that the song’s essential honesty has been shared.
The YouTube videos above are snippets of a documentary about the process leading up to her new CD, COUNTING YOUR BLESSINGS, which features among other players the pianist Larry Ham, saxophonist Marc Phaneuf, and trombonist John Allred — on thirteen songs that cover a broad range of emotions and approaches — from the sweet serenity of Berlin’s COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS to the naughty rock of SATISFY MY SOUL to Sondheim’s OLD FRIENDS. Whatever the setting, Dwayna shines like a bright light.
Visit her website here to learn more about her music. I expect great things from Ms. Litz!