Sasha Dobson: The Darkling Thrush (2004)
Sasha Dobson is a JK, or jazz kid. Given her parental background, she was indubitably raised with the canonical repertoire of this recording. Accompanied by the Chris Byars Octet, the singer displays talents of her own nonetheless.
On "I'm Beginning To See The Light, Dobson scats and swings at will with tonic clarity and frankness, as well as fine timing and phrasing. Similar comments can be made regarding the closer, "What is This Thing Called Love, "I'll Get By and, with various qualifications regarding a diminished character in its performance, "April in Paris. "You Go To My Head and Jobim's "Quiet Nights feature some of Dobson's best interpretative qualitiessweet, relaxed, swinging, playful, and inviting, evoking pleasant jazz club memories.
The recording as a whole is fine listening. It sounds and is mixed as if it wasn't a sectional recording but a live date. The Chris Byars Octet is big and exciting, with impeccable ensemble chops and abundant gusto. There are various bright orchestral moments throughout The Darkling Thrush. Sonically, the doubling on flutes and clarinets adds color as well as texture.
Byars' octet is as much at the forefront of the performance as Dobson, often times much more so. To her credit, she doesn't ever get overwhelmed by the other musicians. Her interpretations, however, come across as talented but a tad non-descript. The Darkling Thrush is a mainstream recording with shining middle-of-the-road interpretations of threaded material that gains greater vocal substance with repeated listenings.
Track Listing: Who Will Buy?; You Go To My Head; Goodbye; Quiet Nights; What Is This Thing Called Love?; Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry; Detour Ahead; I'm Beginning To See The Light; Sophisticated Lady; I'll Get By; If You Could See Me Now; April In Paris; The Song Is You.
Personnel: Gary Pribek: alto saxophone, flute; Mark Lopeman Baritone: sax, clarinet; Neal Miner: bass; Andy Watson: drums; Sacha Perry: piano; Chris Byars: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet; John Mosca: trombone; Richie Vitale: trumpet, flugelhorn; Sasha Dobson: vocals.