Jazz CD Reviews

Dana Land, vocals – Servin’ It Up – Jen-Car Production

...an amazing quality of reminding you of now Chris Conner, now Ella, maybe Diana Krall, but not really sounding like any of them.

Published on January 15, 2007

Dana Land, vocals – Servin’ It Up – Jen-Car Production
Dana Land, vocals – Servin’ It Up – Jen-Car Productions, 46:12 *****:

Since you are reading this review under the “jazz” category, we know you have heard and collected a considerable amount of music in this broad category. Our bet is that part of your collection includes jazz by a tasty small group playing straight ahead jazz, featuring really good instrumental soloists, who come together to play.  And it surely contains some of the female jazz singers with that hard-to-define voice quality and feel for what’s happening with the music behind her.  Well then, have we got an addition for you!  Now comes Dana Land with her first CD.  And serve it up she does!  This is an amazing debut album that you will be playing a great deal.  Your love affair with Ms. Land will start with her quietly sexy cover art on the album, and will continue unabashed for many album hearings.

Dana Land lives in the wine country of Sonoma, CA.  She was an interior designer for a decade, and then a stay-at-home mom for nine more.  But throughout both careers, she couldn’t shake the idea of becoming a jazz performer.  And we are glad she couldn’t.  Her voice has its own unique quality—playful, fun, clear and with a spot-on pitch and focus.  And an amazing quality of reminding you of now Chris Conner, now Ella, maybe Diana Krall, but not really sounding like any of them.  It’s one of those voices that at a fleeting moment recalls these singers and others, then returns to pure Dana.  Very cool!

On this album she is backed by some amazing and classy SF bay area musicians:  John Mackay and John Simon on piano, Tom Shader acoustic bass, Kendrick Freeman drums, David Sydney Scott and Dale Gutridge on saxes, and Gutridge and Al Molina on trumpet, with Randy Vincent on guitar and Bob Afifi on flute.

Ms. Land’s play list is diverse.  From the opening standard “Old Devil Moon”, to the playful “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens (my fave) to “If I Only Had A Brain” and even “Good Day Sunshine”.  And if you don’t fall in love during her rendition of the Brazilian tune “Dindi”, you ain’t livin’.

I have had the pleasure of seeing Ms. Land perform several times in small rooms, medium size venues and in concert in the lovely deco Sebastiani Theater in Sonoma.  During the latter, she was joined by another amazing jazz singer—Jamie Davis, whose album was reviewed previously here.  That is a blockbuster combination of talent, and I hope they do more work together.

Do yourself a favor and get this album now.  It’s a jazzy fun way to start the new year, and will be good company for many of them to come. Her site, http://www.danaland.com/home.html, takes you to CD Baby for purchase.

— Bob Wilkins

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