One of the finest singers I know — Dawn Lambeth — has released a new concert DVD, and it’s delightful.
This intimate performance finds her alongside the peerless pianist Chris Dawson — with special appearances by Marc Caparone, cornet; Katie Cavera, string bass; Mike Swan, guitar. The DVD is like being in a small room, among friends, while Dawn and her friends make the best kind of music — sweet, unaffected, lively swing. The songs are YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME / S’POSIN’ / CHEEK TO CHEEK / IT’S EASY TO REMEMBER / MOONBURN / DROP ME OFF IN HARLEM / I CRIED FOR YOU / SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME / CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS? / ‘S’WONDERFUL / THE MAN I LOVE / ON A SLOW BOAT TO CHINA / TRUST IN ME / I’VE HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE / BLUE MOON / WHAT A LITTLE MOONLIGHT CAN DO.
Readers who know their repertoire will recognize small homages to the great songwriters and Bing, Mildred, Billie, Fred and Ginger. But Dawn imitates no one, and she doesn’t have to. Her voice is a pleasure in itself — full of subtle shadings but never self-consciously dramatic; a fine pianist herself, she knows the harmonies and is always in tune with the rhythm, taking improvisatory liberties when they fit the mood but always honoring the song — the intent of its words and music.
Here are three songs from the CD. The first, a 1935 paean to romance outdoors at night — first immortalized by Bing and Joe Sullivan — MOONBURN. Listen, too, to Chris Dawson — Southern California’s answer to Teddy Wilson and Jess Stacy. And hear Dawn’s sweet ornamentation — what she does in her second chorus with “glowing stars,” and “my heart” — the little reinventions, so appealing, that mark an artist who truly knows her way:
A sprightly performance of CHEEK TO CHEEK — ebullient but full of subtleties from Dawn and Chris:
Here’s the full band on A SLOW BOAT TO CHINA — sounds like Basie, doesn’t it, with Dawn floating over that irresistible rhythm?:
To purchase your very own copy: check in here. Sixty-two minutes of fine music. And should you be in the Central Coast area of California, Dawn and friends have three end-of-September shows coming up — find out more here.
May your happiness increase.