JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of the video for “Dressed in a Song” by JD Walter. It’s the title track of the vocalist’s latest album, which was released February 7 on JWAL Records—Walter’s first release since his recovery from a life-threatening heart condition that led to major surgery on both his heart and vocal cords. Breaking away from the electronic timbres that have characterized much of his recent work, Walter returns to a more stripped-down sound on Dressed in a Song; the album consists mainly of duets with a number of distinguished pianists, including Jim Ridl, Orrin Evans, Jean-Michel Pilc, Marc Cary and, as heard here, Taylor Eigsti.
“My first four records were straight-ahead jazz with no electronics,” Walter says, “and then I got into electronica and somehow developed the reputation of being the ‘progressive jazz vocalist’ who does the electronic thing. I wasn’t so much trying to sound different from anyone else. It was my own personal exploration and evolution. I have been fortunate to play over the years with so many great pianists, and I conceived Dressed in a Song after realizing I hadn’t done anything this intimate before.”
The sessions for Dressed in a Song—co-produced by Walter and Al Pryor—stretched over several years, interrupted by the singer’s health issues. One of three Walter originals on the album, “Dressed in a Song” was also one of the songs tracked before his lengthy recording pause. It’s dedicated to Walter’s mother, who took him in as an orphan during his infancy. “I was adopted before the age of one,” he notes. “…[M]y mother … was and is a musician. She nurtured me musically and helped me to find a place of intimacy and refuge in music as a child.” The many personal challenges Walter has faced since the song was recorded have, if anything, added even more poignancy to the composition.
For more information about JD Walter, visit his website.