Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Denise Perrier: The Second Time Around

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

This album is well-named; it marks Denise Perrier’s fourth CD and the second time around with tenorist Houston Person. Ms Perrier is also well-named. Her singing style is bubbly and her personality always sparkles. (I must thank Alisa Clancy, of KCSM, Jazz91, in San Mateo. I embellished on the original metaphor in her liner notes.) Person, who plays on all nine tracks, appeared on Denise’s debut album. Their pairing is a study in compatibility: he never steps on her vocal cords; she allows him ample opportunities to fill her gaps. When she itches, he scratches. A match made in jazz heaven — somewhat reminiscent of the classic rapport between Billie Holiday and tenorist Lester Young.

Ms Perrier boasts a gorgeous instrument; call it a burnished contralto. When she sustains a tone, it remains unswerving. Yet when she decides to go for a high note, as she does on the endings of “‘S Wonderful” and “Falling In Love With Love,” she can leap an octave with ease and vocal strength. She swings freely, improvising intelligently and showing no need to rely on scat. And bless her, you can understand each syllable of the lyrics. When she tackles a dramatic ballad, as with “This Bitter Earth” and the bossa nova “Dindi,” she interprets lyrics without resorting to melodramatics. Perhaps they should be considered “mellow” dramatics. Knowing Denise’s background, that should come as no surprise — she’s an actress and cabaret singer.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published