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Jackie Ryan's Doozy

Jackie Ryan: Doozy (2009)

Reviewed January 2010 by Dustin Garlitz, Editor: JazzTalent.com


      The release of Jackie Ryan’s double-disc Doozy marks a trend in jazz vocals performance first initiated by Diana Krall in the 1990s: take raw talent in jazz vocals delivery and match it with the best sidemen in the industry.  Krall raised the bar when hiring Christian McBride and Russell Malone, and now Ryan follows her lead by pairing her robust vocal acoustics with stellar jazz instrumentalists Cyrus Chestnut, Eric Alexander, and Jeremy Pelt.  Listening to the two one-hour sets of Doozy is a real treat because of the very fact that Ryan’s sidemen on the date are established bandleaders of modern jazz in their own right.  Nevertheless, Ryan steals the show with her sultry voice steeped deep in the history of the music. 

     The opening track of disc one is representative of why there is so much buzz about Ryan in traditional jazz circles today.  Ryan falls right in rhythm with her sidemen and vocally matches Chestnut’s impressive piano skills note-by-note.  Jazzmen like to use the word ‘comping’ as shorthand for rhythm section complements, and Ryan’s band pianist ‘comps’ well,  making all the chord changes to the challenging selection of famous jazz tunes from the music’s golden era.  On the title-track and throughout the album, there is a ménage of unbelievable soloing from Ryan’s sidemen (Chestnut-Alexander-Pelt).  Tracks such as Speak Low reinforces the very welcome trend of jazz vocalists today choosing to perform songs first made famous by legends of the music's history.  All in all, this album is a powerful showing by Jackie Ryan, sure to win over a large portion of contemporary jazz music’s most dedicated followers of female vocals.