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SUZANNE DEAN

Come To Paradise

 

 

 

  1. Come To Paradise

  2. What Dreams Are Made Of

  3. Soulstar

  4. On A Cloud

  5. Dance The Night Away

  6. Ngizohamba (I Will Go)

    Nicole Zuraitis - Vocals (all), background vocals (tracks 3, 4, 6)

    Suzanne Dean - 8 string ukelele (track 1), background vocals (track 4), vocals (track 6)

    Rich Ruttenberg - Piano (tracks 1-5)

    Dean Parks - Acoustic guitar (tracks 1, 4), electric guitar (tracks 2-5), mandolin (track 1)

    Trey Henry - Acoustic bass (tracks 1, 2, 4), fretless bass (track 3), electric bass (track 5)

    Casey Scheuerell - Drums, percussion

    Scott Breadman - Percussion (tracks 1, 3, 5, 6)

    John Daversa - Trumpet (tracks 2, 4)

    Bob Sheppard - Soprano sax (track 3)

    Suzanne Dean has taught at the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts since 1997 (she is an assistant professor in the Contemporary Writing and Production Department). She is not simply an educator but an arranger, composer, vocalist, and plays keyboards and guitar. She has written words and music for all the tracks on this album with the exception of What Dreams Are Made Of, which was co-written with Henry Gaffney. The inspiration for the disc lies in a fundraising project linked to the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife in Durban, South Africa. Through it, she seeks to bring together her commitment to making music with her love for animals and in doing so, to make a difference. To help her she has assembled a group of musicians which include Nicole Zuraitis, an accomplished and versatile New York-based vocalist, and Dean Parks and Bob Sheppard from the LA music scene.

    The cause is worthy, how about the music? I'm pleased to report that the CD is refreshing and vibrant. A couple of tracks ( Come To Paradise and Ngizohamba) seem to owe more to the folk tradition and to world music respectively than specifically to jazz. Having said that, the boundaries between different genres are increasingly blurred these days. The opening track, Come To Paradise, makes for a rousing beginning with sprightly playing of the ukelele by Dean and skilful work by Parks on the mandolin. In addition to a strong melody, there is the added bonus of Nicole Zuraitus' clear and compelling voice and Rich Ruttenberg's effective support on piano. The ballad, What Dreams Are Made Of, features the impressive John Daversa on trumpet. This time round, Zuraitus' singing is more in a jazz vein and we also get the opportunity to hear the empathetic style of Trey Henry on bass. This is definitely a stand-out track. Dean Parks is at his best on electric guitar on Soulstar and Bob Sheppard who guests on soprano sax is also on fine form. On A Cloud is probably the weakest number on the disc and is notable mainly for another stellar contribution from Daversa. Dance The Night Away, however, is another winner. The catchy, even funky, theme boasts a hypnotic rhythm, embellished especially by Parks and Ruttenberg but most of all by the voice of the admirable Zuraitis. As for the irresistible Ngizohamba (I Will Go), listeners will understand how this joyous anthem was nominated in the World Traditional Song category in the Independent Music Awards. The tuneful duo of Zuraitis and Suzanne Dean accompanied only by drums and percussion produce a powerful finale.

    Perhaps all I need to say in conclusion is that I was left wanting more. This is a disc I shall want to revisit, without doubt.

    James Poore



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