Dennise Neill
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Dennise Neill

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Written by Brad Walseth   
Saturday, 28 July 2007

From out west, Los Angeles way, comes the impressive third indie jazz release from talented singer Dennise Neill. Titled "One Kiss" Is Not Enough, the recording starts off with a bang with a sultry version of “That Old Feeling.” Backed by a well-oiled rhythm section of Joe Bagg on piano, Tony Dumas on bass (who both add tasty solos here) and solid drummer Ralph Penland, and enhanced by the presence of the incredible Ron Stout on soaring trumpet, Neill proves she is an excellent judge of bandmates. This ability would be moot if Neill couldn't sing, but fortunately sing she does and with a most beautiful voice and a sure sense of phrasing that is bound to please the most discerning listener.

When you think it can't get any better, Neill finds herself supported by percussionist Cassio Duarte and fabulous guitarist Larry Koonse on nylon string on the second song — "Estate," where the mulitlingual Neill sings the lyrics gorgeously in both Italian and English. Stout and Koonse shine, as does percussionist Duarte, but the spotlight belongs to Neill, who caresses the song lovingly. A nice version of “Autumn Leaves,” arranged by Stout, follows, sung by Neill in both French and English and complemented by Stout, Dumas and Bagg's fine solo turns.

Gerald Pinter joins the group on sax on the next cut, an emotional "Un Bacio E Troppo Poco" that features some of Neill's most compelling vocals in Italian. "Now" swings softly and delights with the grace of an Astaire/Rogers dance routine. Bagg sparkles on the keys; Dumas is energetic, yet sensitive; and Stout impresses with his command. Neill is softly romantic, but never weak — an important distinction. "Speak Low" offers Neill in a charming vocal duet with Jonathan Dane, whose low vocal timbre is a perfect match for Neill's lilting voice. Stout and Pinter exchange solos here in yet another lovely pairing that mirrors the vocalists. 

Koonse and Duarte return on “Esta Tarde Vi Llover,” which Neill sings marvelously in Spanish and English. Neill is highly expressive without veering into the maudlin; Dumas again solos melodically, while Stout mutes his horn to choice effect. An exquisite version of “Beyond the Sea,” arranged by Joe Bagg and sung by Neill in French and English, follows with Bagg and Stout again providing stellar solo spots. “Dizzy So Dizzy” features Neill at her most exuberant, along with another fiery bass solo from Dumas. Stout's original "Over You" is another highlight with its minor key ruminations on love, augmented by Penland's perceptive drumming. Finally, a return to the Latin sounds of Koonse's arrangement of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Bonita" closes this rewarding set. 

Dennise Neill is a singer you should make yourself aware of, and “One Kiss” Is Not Enough is a worthy addition to your collection, especially if you are a fan of romantic female jazz singers backed by superb musicians playing great arrangements of wonderful songs. But then again, who isn't?
- JazzChicago.Net


A Beat: Multilingual Jazz Singer Dennise Neill’s CD Release Party at Catalina’s


Written by Glenn A. Mitchell (LA Jazz Scene)   
Friday, 29 June 2007

Dennise Neill has been presenting some excellent music for quite a few years now. This night [May 23] was no exception. Her third CD, One Kiss Is Not Enough, is a winner, in my opinion. It is a combination of her first (more of a swing tunes CD) and the second, a compilation Latin tunes (With Latin Lovers), done in all five languages that she sings in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Her CD celebration was held at Catalina’s Bar and Grill in Hollywood. I knew this CD release would be quite classy and musically exhilarating with the musicians at this presentation. The sound acoustics were quite good, although this room is a lot bigger than the original Catalina’s of a few years back.
 
There were nine musicians on stage, including Neill. Her core band members were: Ron Stout, (trumpet); Joe Bagg (piano.); Tony Dumas,(bass); and Ralph Penland (drums). Guest performers with the band were: Gerald Pinter (tenor sax); Jonathan Dane (trumpet and vocals); Larry Koonse (guitar); and Bryan Brock (percussion).
The quartet opened with a familiar jazz number, “This I Dig of You.” The party and the music got off to a groovy start, with shared and meaningful solos all the way around the tune. Neill came to the stage and sang a long-time favorite, “That Old Feeling,” in her own personable style. Her voice is one that seems to be easily recognizable with in the first few bars of any tune. Quite amazing! Dumas kicked out one of his terrific bass solos. Neiill continued with “Estate” (sung in both Italian and English), followed by Jobim’s “Triste.” The band along with Neill was superb. If you hear these performers working together, you will not forget their over-all sound. Everyone blended beautifully. The sound balance was right where it should be, giving Dennise Neill the perfect back-up for all her songs.
The audience settled in early and many were her friends, family and working associates, whom she announced throughout the evening. She performed the title tune from the new CD titled, “Un Bacio E Troppo Poco,” in Italian, meaning “One Kiss Is Not Enough.” The flavor and emotion stood out throughout this song. wowing the audience. Probably my favorite tune of the performance was “La Mer” (done in French and English, “Beyond the Sea”). During Neill’s French and English version of “Autumn Leaves,” I noticed, once again, the relaxed, tight cohesiveness that the musicians, along with Neill, portrayed. Pianist Joe Bagg’s harmonic voicings and eloquent right hand piano work was unusually gift-given. Stout’s trumpet playing was terrific as always. Pinter, Koonse and Brock’s consistent contributions added well to the whole evening. Penland and Dumas consumed the rhythm work to a tee. Their sound was balanced and always right on top. Neill and trumpeter Jonathan Dane sang a hip and illustrious version in duet style of “Speak Low,” a highlight of the show. The closing gem was a brilliant rendition and arrangement of “Corcavado” (Quiet Nights).
See Dennise Neill’s website for more information on her new CD and future performances: www.DenniseNeill.com . Highly recommended.
 
Reprinted with permission from LA Jazz Scene (June 2007). Glenn A. Mitchell is a Los Angeles based bassist and writer for LA Jazz Scene.

- LA Jazz Scene


Discography

With Latin Lovers - 2001
"One Kiss" is not enough - 2007
audio tks. on web site.

Photos

Bio

Dennise Neill grew up singing. School & church choirs were her first gigs. Her love of music drew her to study classical flute & ochestral arrangement in school but soon found that singing was her true passion. She has been singing in Orange County & Los Angeles County for over 15 years and developed her own band 10 years ago. She was a featured artist at Steamers Cafe for the "Women in Jazz" Series. She has international sales through CD Baby in Oregon & Jazz Matters in Bath, England. Her love of lyrics lead her to perform many songs in there original language, including: English, Spanish, Italian, French & Portugese.