From press release by DL Media
A BOUNTY OF RARITIES, STANDARDS, BOSSA NOVA, BLUES
IMPECCABLE VOCALIST, WEST COAST JAZZ SINGER,
PRAISED BY CRITICS AND FANS INTERNATIONALLY,
SINGS HER FAVORITES WITH JAZZ ALL-STARS,
CREATING TWO CLUB SETS FOR A TWO-CD ALBUM
JACKIE RYAN -- A NOTE-PERFECT JAZZ SINGER WITH A NATURALLY DRAMATIC, BEGUILING AND SWINGING SENSE OF STYLE AND GROOVE -- DELIVERS A SWEEPING PROGRAM OF ORIGINAL VOCALESE, FRESHLY INTERPRETED FAMILIAR TUNES, BITTERSWEET BRAZILIAN MELODIES AND UP-TO-DATE BLUES. With heartfelt collaboration from some of the most celebrated, urbane and soulful of current instrumental soloists and rhythm teams, the West Coast-based chanteuse with an international following captures the freedom, intimacy and excitement she generates in club and concert performances over the run of two CDs in her generous Doozy package.
Ms. Ryan creates a narrative of stages of romance as it's known by mature yet not jaded adults, bringing energized grace, lovely humor and flashes of urgency to material created by or associated with jazz greats Benny Carter (in the album's title track and "Summer Serenade"), Betty Carter (in the sexy romp "Do Something"), Oscar Brown Jr. ("Opportunity Please Knock" and "Dat Dere"), Billie Holiday ("I Must Have That Man"), Sarah Vaughan ("Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most"), Nat King Cole ("Beautiful Moons Ago") as well as Kurt Weill and Carmen McRae ("Speak Low"), Antonio Carlos Jobim and Ellis Regina ("Brigas Nunca Mais/A Felicidade"), Lionel Hampton and Ella Fitzgerald ("Midnight Sun") and Mexican composer Agustin Lara ("Solamente Una Vez").
Doozy was produced almost entirely in three days from two recording sessions, the first held at Tony Bennett's studio in Englewood, New Jersey, the second at Entourage Studios, Hollywood. "The first gave us about 90 minutes of music, which could have been two CDs right there," the singer says, "and the second was booked for a time when Cyrus was on the West Coast. We loved what we came up with, and thought, 'Why not put it out as a double album?' And the label felt, given the economy, people might appreciate getting two CDs for the price of one. Also, this represents the variety of material I usually do in a performance of two shows in the course of a single night. I'm very much a live performer -- I love doing it, for fun, for meeting people. These are songs I have sung many times before on gigs and people often asked me if they could get these songs on an album. So, we finally decided to record them!"
The breadth of material reflects Ryan's impressive span of taste and her unusual ability to express a rainbow of moods and nuances at a variety of tempos, with arrangements ranging from spare to lush. At the center of each of song is her voice, which album annotator Don Heckman writes has a "pliant capacity to move with deceptive ease across every manner of interval leap and elegant melisma . . . embracing whisper-in-your-ear warmth and . . . swing that sometimes surface(s) in the accent of a single note."
Ryan has honed her voice -- her instrument -- throughout an enviable career, which has included such formidable runs as eight years of annual two-week visits to Ronnie Scott's famed London club, tours of Japan with Chestnut, Bay Area concerts with vocalese master Jon Hendricks, gigs with Red Holloway (who she calls "the wild sax bluesman") and The Jeff Hamilton Trio. As such diversity suggests, she has flexibility and scope. It flows from her personal experience.
Jackie Ryan sang rhythm and blues when in her teens; earlier, she'd heard her mother, who was Mexican, sing operettas and folks songs to her in Spanish and her father, Irish and classically trained, perform pieces by Brahms, Schubert and Tchaikovsky. She says she has always been fervent about music, for example devoting three years to the study of Portuguese so as to be able to deliver bossa novas with authenticity.
Influential as such background has been, Ms. Ryan has come a long way from her roots as audiences at venues including Yoshi's in San Francisco, Christofori's in Amsterdam and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York can attest. As a believer that "People need music. It's like food, providing special nourishment," Jackie Ryan strives for contact with her listeners, and succeeds on her recording, too.
"Jazz singers and musicians are ambassadors," she continues, "bringing people together through a real love connection. It's a great thing to do this kind of work in life, and I am grateful for the privilege." As for future projects, "I've got ideas for at least three upcoming CDs, all very different. It's important to me that each new project is special and not just a repeat of what I've done before. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do."
Those who hear her are the fortunate ones. "Extravagantly gifted," one Down Beat critic calls her. "Deftly assured," enthuses Variety. "Superb! The bell-like resonance of her smokey voice coupled with her heartfelt emotion . . . puts Jackie at the top of her game," according to Latin Beat. Following up on her prior releases This Heart of Mine (with Toots Thielemans, Amina Figarova, and Jon Mayer, among others), For Heaven's Sake with pianist Mike Wofford's trio at a San Diego Club, and You and the Night and the Music, with saxophonist Holloway and Hamilton's band -- which took the #1 spot on JazzWeek's radio chart, spent eight and a half months on the chart, and earned four star reviews in both Down Beat and the AllMusicGuide -- Jackie Ryan seems poised on the brink of a breakthrough, ready for even wider listenership and farther-reaching appreciation. Wise bets are on her new release from OpenArt Productions LLC, which truly is a Doozy.
— HOWARD MANDEL
President, Jazz Journalists Association
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"What a voice.
I mean, what a voice!
Jackie Ryan, who has been wowing audiences and critics and musicians and anyone else who happens to be within earshot of her voice, has released a two-CD album that showcases the full range of her talent. Even though her three previous albums received almost universal acclaim, they seem but preludes to the expansion of Ryan's recording initiatives on Doozy."
....Ryan understands the core message of every song she performs and she utilizes every technique at her command to connect it to her listeners. And instead of issuing sweeping approbation, maybe it's me, but I'm impressed with the small delights that build into a satisfying accumulation of emotional appeal when a tune is all sung and done. And Jackie Ryan is all about the details of singing, whether intentional or not. Such effectiveness hardly seems to be accidental.
...Jackie Ryan is a singer whose stylistic details add up to an emotional totality of effect. As a result, there are too many details within the two CD's of Doozy for the concision of a review. But project's totality can be described as affecting and individualistic, a reflection of Ryan's personality and musical choices. Doozy is so painstakingly produced, joyously performed and comprehensively representative of Ryan's widely praised style that it is the culmination of all of her preceding recording activity.
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It takes a very special vocalist to interest me, and Jackie Ryan is one ... The entire program is a real tour de force; no danger of boredom listening to both discs in succession!
Another winner for Jackie!
Published on September 18, 2009
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After listening to "Doozy" by vocalist JACKIE RYAN, I made a note to drop whatever else I might be doing, and catch her the next time that she appears in the New York City area. This is one impressive album....
... When she got to "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most," the fourth track on the second disc, I was full of anticipation, as this demanding song takes a special singer to perform it effectively. I have always considered the version by Carmen McRae on her classic Bittersweet album to be the definitive version. Well move over Carmen, you now need to share that pedestal. Doozy is simply one of the most satisfying albums to come along this year, or any year.
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From the Liner Notes by Don Heckman:
"DOOZY," A FAR-RANGING, 2-CD SET OF IRRESISTIBLY COMPELLING PERFORMANCES.
JACKIE AT HER BEST. IT'S NOT JUST HER CAPACITY TO SWING LIKE ELLA, EMOTE LIKE BILLIE, FLY LIKE SARAH OR BE COOL LIKE DIANA THAT MAKE HER ONE OF THE SIGNIFICANT JAZZ ARTISTS OF THE NEW CENTURY. IT'S HER ABILITY TO DO ALL THAT, AND DO IT THROUGH THE UNIQUE PRISMS OF HER OWN MUSICAL GIFTS AND PERSONAL JOURNEYS.
The first time I heard Jackie perform in person — a memorable night — I had little idea of what to expect before the music started. In my business, there's the opportunity to hear another new jazz vocal discovery on a regular basis. And, for the past few years, the overall quality of those discoveries had been fairly high. All of which made it even more impressive when I heard Jackie's first set.
Her voice was what grabbed me first — with its pliant capacity to move with deceptive ease across every manner of interval leap and elegant melisma, its embracing, whisper-in-your-ear warmth, and the ineffable sense of swing that sometimes surfaced in the accent of a single note. And there was more — the way she never sacrificed the words for the music, or vice versa, valuing the importance of story telling — and more, of allowing her vocal lines to have the space in which to breathe the fullest essence of their message.
"To me," says Jackie, "singing is about story telling, but it's about more, too. It's about healing. About touching people. About having people feel that a song opens up something within themselves." It would be hard to imagine anyone listening to the twenty songs in this far-reaching collection, and not feeling that it "opens up something within themselves."
Jackie has been opening hearts both here and abroad for most of her adult life. The rich, emotional content of her interpretations traces to a musical childhood. Her mother, who was Mexican, sang in operettas in Guadalajara and often crooned Spanish folk songs to her; her classically-trained Irish father performed Brahms, Schubert and Tchaikovsky pieces in their original languages. Although she found herself drawn to rhythm and blues, in general, and Otis Redding, in particular as a teen-ager, her exposure to jazz after high school completely transformed her life, and her music.
Like all jazz artists, she's had her roller coaster experiences making ends meet in the business of music. But the growth of her talent, her creativity and her musical insight has never faltered. Her listeners have become her fans, no matter where in the world she has sung, from 8 years at London's famed Ronnie Scott's Club to such top venues as Christofori's in Amsterdam to Yoshi's in San Francisco. She has been featured on CNNespanol, NPR, and Voice of America. In addition to the great musicians on this recording, some of the many jazz greats Jackie has sung, recorded, or toured with are: Clark Terry, Toots Thielemans, Barry Harris, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco, Red Holloway, Ernie Watts, Roy McCurdy, Jeff Hamilton, Amina Figarova, Mike Wofford, Larry Vuckovich, Jon Mayer, Tamir Hendelman, and Jon Hendricks, to name a few.
"Doozy" was recorded in two sessions. The first took place on the East Coast in August, 2006 -- the day after Jackie had sung at Dizzy's Club, the spectacular Manhattan jazz venue of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Then the jazz stars came into alignment once again in January of 2008, when Chestnut, Pelt and Alexander were all on the West Coast at the same time. So Jackie seized this serendipitous opportunity to record the final six tracks. The resulting collection is included here. Twenty tunes in a single recorded outing would be a challenge for any singer. And when the material is as diverse as this assemblage, ONE CAN ONLY MARVEL AT JACKIE'S CAPACITY TO MOVE, WITH SUCH CONVINCING EASE, THROUGH SUCH A FAR-RANGING COLLECTION OF SONGS. Standards from the great American songbook, perky jazz rhythm tunes, bossa nova, the blues, a classic Mexican bolero, torch songs and vocalese: it's all here, all delivered in the creatively intimate, musically intuitive manner that is JACKIE RYAN AT HER BEST.
— DON HECKMAN
Don has been writing about music for 45 years - for Down Beat, The Village Voice, and The New York Times before moving to California where from 1994 to 2008 he served as jazz critic at The Los Angeles Times. He is a contributing writer for JazzTimes magazine, an avid blogger (irom.wordpress.com), and in 2008, was nominated for the Jazz Journalism Lifetime Achievement Award.
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After listening to "Doozy" by vocalist JACKIE RYAN, I made a note to drop whatever else I might be doing, and catch her the next time that she appears in the New York City area. THIS IS ONE IMPRESSIVE ALBUM... There are 20 tunes spread out over this two-disc set covering a lot of stylistic territory. Opening with the title song as the first track, a Benny Carter composition to which Ryan added her own hip lyrics, was a wise choice, as it lets you know immediately that this is a lady with serious jazz chops. She next turns to a lovely ballad by Carroll Coates, "You'll See," and her lyric interpretation is magnificent. Ryan also includes several wonderful songs that one does not often find on current albums. Among them are "Do Something," a wonderful 1920's pop song, "Beautiful Moons Ago," a gem from the Nat Cole Trio, "My How the Time Goes By," a Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh ditty, "I Haven't Got Anything Better to Do," a song recorded by the likes of Carmen McRae and Meredith D'Ambrosio, "Get Rid of Monday," a Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke tune associated with Lena Horne, and "Tell Me More and More and Then Some," written by Billie Holiday and a staple of the repertoire of Nina Simone. When she got to "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most," the fourth track on the second disc, I was full of anticipation, as this demanding song takes a special singer to perform it effectively. I have always considered the version by Carmen McRae on her classic Bittersweet album to be the definitive version. Well move over Carmen, you now need to share that pedestal. DOOZY IS SIMPLY ONE OF THE MOST SATISFYING ALBUMS TO COME ALONG THIS YEAR, OR ANY YEAR.
— Joe Lang, reviewer, JERSEY JAZZ newsletter, posted on Songbirds
"FLAWLESS CONTRALTO... TOWERING THREE-AND-A-HALF OCTAVE RANGE... THE MARVELOUSLY DEXTEROUS RYAN SOARS TO NEW HEIGHTS AS SHE...RECONFIRMS HER PLACE AMONG THE ALL-TIME GREATS.
Last we heard from Irish-Mexican enchantress Jackie Ryan, she of the flawless contralto and towering three-and-a-half octave range, was the exemplary You and the Night and the Music. NOW, THE MARVELOUSLY DEXTEROUS RYAN SOARS TO NEW HEIGHTS AS SHE BONDS SEAMLESSLY WITH HER ELITE COMPANIONS. Whether softly tracing the relentless heartache of "I Haven't Got Anything Better to Do," slinking through a wickedly fine "Tell Me More and More and Then Some," or plumbing the soul-deep devotion of "Solamente Una Vez," JACKIE RYAN RECONFIRMS HER PLACE AMONG THE ALL-TIME GREATS."
— Christopher Loudon