The debut recording by New York-based singer Laurie Dapice is a fine example of a) convincingly getting a story across to the listener and b) choosing enthralling repertoire. Even with classic standards like Cole Porter‘s “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” and “What Is This Thing Called Love”, Laurie’s approach and her warm soprano make both of them exciting again. Thanks also to her nice band which includes Paul Lieberman on flute and Akua Dixon on cello on the former and the brilliant rhythm section of Art Hirahara on piano, Elias Bailey on bass and Dwayne Broadnax on drums.
But she doesn’t stay in the comfy surroundings of the Great American Songbook, but also includes a couple of her own songs plus two pieces by the great Abbey Lincoln (but aren’t they also part of the Standards Book now?). Her rendition of Abbey’s “Just For Me” from the 1959 LP “It’s Magic” is a wonderful cover with much command and sincerity and joy. And her beautiful work on “Midnight Sun” is truly magical.
The light vibrato on the opening phrases of the Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse song “Feeling Good” suits the song brilliantly. And she opens up the gates about halfway through the song after a brimming soprano sax solo by Paul Lieberman. The piece really comes to light after the full 7-plus minutes. Another of the longer pieces is her own “Goodbye Summer”, clocking in at about 8 minutes. And telling the sweet story of recollection and renewal.
Laurie stretches even further on one of my favorite Abbey Lincoln songs, “Throw It Away”, mysteriously opening with kalimba and sax and percussion, slowly building with the incoming bass of Rufus Reid, but then never getting to the point of releasing the tension, but rather keeping it open and staying in sync with the fatalistic lyrics. She goes swinging again on the Gigi Gryce/Jon Hendricks classic “Social Call” and is back on the ballad route for her own “Winter Waltz”, another heartily crafted, sympathetic composition. Here, her accurate ability of conversing is best exemplified. There is a rousing, but still subdued 10-minute plus version of “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child”.
Laurie celebrates the CD release at Club Bonafide in New York on December 3rd with Paul Lieberman on sax/flute, Art Hirahara on piano, Lonnie Plaxico on bass, Dwayne “Cook” Broadnax on drums