These last couple of years I seemed to have submerged myself, though not 100% intentionally, in everything Ellington. I made a ‘modern Ellington’ album, which was produced by my husband, …
Diggin' the Duke
There are many tribute projects. You can place them roughly into the following categories. First, the “whatever-projects” you take the name of a celebrity and then bungle his hits in a mainstream interpretation.
Second, the ‘who-does-the-hero-think-he-is” type, a concert or album that lacks any respect for the musical essence of the model.
But fortunately we still have the “big-respect-but-then-in-my way” type. It is in this category that this album from singer and flutist Deborah J. Carter fits. She sings fifteen pieces, with a trio as base (pianist Leo Bouwmeester and bassist Mark Zandveld plus guests like saxophonist Efraim Trujillo and harmonica player Hermine Deurloo).
These are not run-of-the-mill arrangements: each time she adds a deliberate original touch to known and lesser known pieces. Purple Gazelle lp Afro Bossa (which Ellington first called Angelica) is a good example. Deborah Carter adds a witty and brilliant twist to it.
Coen de Jonge – Jazzism, September 2015
As the album title implies, Carter adores the legendary jazz musician, but after listening to the album, the meaning appears to be broader. She actually digs deep in the extensive works of the master. Thus Carter comes up with less obvious gems like “Petite Fleur Africaine”, “Purple Gazelle”, and “Melancholia” which she alternates with such standards as “Prelude To a Kiss”, “It Do not Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and “Solitude.”
What stands out on “Diggin’ the Duke’ are the brand new interpretations. Carter dusted off her findings, and after studying them, gave them a second life. The singer wrote original lyrics to several tracks, with the exception of “Melancholia” which is based on a version by Norah Jones. Her mesmerizing voice radiates warmth, but is also flexible which makes for great dynamics. Carter’s scats impress with virtuosity.
Partner in crime and bassist, Mark Zandveld, together with pianist Leo Bouwmeester, supplied fresh arrangements that lend a contemporary character to the music. It all balances nicely between fusion, jazz, soul and world music. Tempos sometimes differ from the originals, but that makes it interesting. Sporadic moments aside, the album is packed with swing, sometimes a languid funky groove, the next moment a sultry Latin rhythm.
With musicianship and a good dose of creativity, Carter presents a personal perspective on Ellington’s famous and less-famous works, without harming them. On the contrary, the new arrangements work extremely well. She shows great respect for Ellington who inspires her clearly adventurous performance. Deborah sparkles, moves you, and gives you goosebumps on this swinging artistic tribute. (9/10) (Dot Time Records)
Serge Julien – Jazzzine (Jan 2016)
With fresh, original arrangements, Deborah Carter presents ‘Diggin’ The Duke!’ a tribute to big band leader and composer Edward “Duke” Ellington (1899 – 1974). The album contains a mixture of well-known and less-frequently played work.
Most surprising are the beautiful ballad ‘Satin Doll’ which is usually played faster but is, in this way gaining depth, and an up-tempo version of the often slowly performed ‘Solitude’. The arrangements penned by bassist Mark Zandveld and pianist Leo Bouwmeester lend to the work of Ellington a modern sound, without causing injustice to the spirit of the great composer – on the contrary.
On ‘Diggin’ the Duke!’, many musicians made guest appearances. Alex Simu plays virtuoso clarinet d’amour on the opening track ‘Petite Fleur Africaine’ and the cheerful, jubilant ‘I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues’. Efraim Trujillo is present on five numbers with striking tenor saxophone parts, which especially emerges well on the funky ‘Harlem Nocturne’ (not by Ellington himself, but regularly performed by him) and on the fast ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing’. To ‘Prelude to a Kiss’ and ‘Melancholia’, on which Carter sings a text from Norah Jones, Hermine Deurloo adds a melancholic atmosphere with her a distinctive harmonica playing. The light R & B content of the album, which never dominates, is introduced on ‘The Gal from Joe’s’ by the relaxed guitar contribution of Mateusz Pulawski.
Two compositions are not by Ellington himself, but about him. Composer Emiel Wienholts named his contribution to the CD after the autobiography of the Duke, ‘Music Is My Mistress’. And the ballad ‘The First Time I Heard Ellington’ (Schaefer / Larimer), with a beautiful piano intro by Bouwmeester, is a fine ending to the album.
The atmosphere of ‘Diggin ‘The Duke!’ is light and the music swings continuously. Arrangers Bouwmeester and Zandveld show in their virtuoso and respectful relationship with the work of Duke what a power his compositions still contain. Finally, Ellington’s legacy seems to fit Deborah Carter like a glove. With ‘Diggin ‘The Duke’, she has delivered a magnificent homage.
David Cohen – Jazzenzo, September 2015
Diggin’ the Duke has become a tasteful, distinguished document which will find it’s way also outside of the jazz world, because Carter seems attractive to a wide audience.
Jan Jasper Tamboer – Het Parool
Carter totally respects the grand works of Ellington but has no trouble to present completely original versions of classics like “Solitude”, “Satin Doll”, “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. It all sounds natural and swings like hell.
Hans Invernizzi – Jazzflits
Diggin ‘The Duke is an excellent jazz album by a pure jazz singer, which I believe deserves more attention and credit than is already the case. Absolute must for any jazz lover!
Fred Pach – Muziekwereld
Blue Notes and Red Shoes
Had Deborah J. Carter stayed in the USA, her country of birth, she would be a world star right now. She just would have to be. This singer is so frightingly good. Ten years ago she chose to settle in The Netherlands with her husband, producer en regular bassist Mark Zandveld. And we, as jazz lovers can count ourselves lucky to have such a top-talent ‘around the corner’. Now you can experience Carter close-up and enjoy her measured, precisely executed, unrelentingly swinging music.
Who won’t have the opportunity to attend a concert, will have to settle for one of Carter’s five solo CD’s. The most recent one is titled “Blue Notes & Red Shoes”. Carter’s metropolitan jazz this time leans strongly to the blues, and the red shoes symbolize her vitality and taste for adventure. Once again, Deborah, accompanied by her own combo and prominent guitarists like Jan Akkerman, Leonardo Amuedo and Maarten van der Grinten, completely customizes existing compositions to her style. Listen for example to “I’m Walking” by Fats Domino. I never heard such a swinging version of this song. And Carter wouldn’t be Carter if she’d not take some risk. Monk’s “Round Midnight” and Gillespie’s “Groovin’ High” (with a vocalese written by Carter) received an impressive overhaul. The original 5/4 jazzblues “The In-And-Outs” holds its own without a problem. The makers describe “Blue Notes & Red Shoes” as ‘Saturday night jazz’ – a perfect typecast. On that night out you have to be at your best, and that certainly is what Deborah and her guys are.
– Hans Invernizzi –
Scott Yanow (liner notes)
One of the most significant American-born jazz singers based in Europe (having lived 15 years in Spain and nearly that many in the Netherlands), Deborah Carter is a delight to hear. Not only does she have a very appealing voice and a thorough understanding of jazz, but her enthusiasm is infectious. A regular at jazz festivals, an important educator, and a frequent guest with big bands, she is most often heard with her regular trio which is featured (along with guests) throughout Blue Notes and Red Shoes.
“With my trio, I always feel like I can fall back on a soft quilt, one that will always catch me,” says Deborah. “The music that we do I call ‘Metropolitan Jazz.’ It is music from a 21st century city where one can go to a Latin club on a Saturday night, cross the street to an r&b/jazz club, and then go a block over and experience some other kind of music.”
Blue Notes and Red Shoes is a bluish set filled with bebop, ballads, original vocalese, jazz standards, and the debut of a few superior songs. Ms. Carter is teamed with pianist Coen Molenaar and drummer Enrique Firpi (both of whom have been in her group for ten years), her husband bassist Mark Zandveld (who has been in her trio for 15 years) and such guests as guitarists Leonardo Ameudo (who often works in Brazil with Ivan Lins) and Jan Akkerman, tenor-saxophonist Simon Rigter, and trumpeter Loet van der Lee.
The set begins with Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’,” which has both straightahead and funky sections and includes some fine scatting by the singer. “My first experience with jazz was dancing to it as a little girl,” remembers Deborah. “‘Moanin” is the type of music that I heard when my mother would get together with her friends.” The bop classic “Groovin’ High” benefits from her vocalese lyrics (paying tribute to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker), concise solos, and catchy Latin rhythms.
Deborah was inspired to purchase a couple of CDs by singer-organist Charlie Wood after seeing him perform, resulting in her discovering his swinging strut “That Note Costs A Dollar.” There have been a countless number of versions of Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round Midnight” through the years, but Deborah Carter’s is different because she wrote a new verse, used a fresh arrangement, and added her own phrasing to the lyrics. “Most of the songs in my repertoire are at least slightly autobiographical. This is my most honest version of ”Round Midnight’ for I have lived this story several times over.”
A jubilant “Meet Me, Midnight” precedes the debut of the soulful “Too Darn Blue.” Deborah discovered the latter song while perusing My Space, immediately writing to the composer Dave Gill. Perhaps My Space will become the Tin Pan Alley of the 21st century, a new way to discover tomorrow’s standards.
Fran Landesman’s “It Isn’t So Good, It Couldn’t Get Better” has not been recorded much since Irene Kral’s version over 30 years ago but it fits today’s economic crisis. “The In-And Outs,” written by Deborah along with her husband and her pianist, discusses a philosophical way of dealing with life. The performers sound quite at ease not only essaying the tricky chord changes but improvising in 5/4 time. Deborah starts Horace Silver’s “Senor Blues” with her own vocalese introduction called “Big Blue” which perfectly sets up the tune. “I’m Walking,” long a part of her repertoire, really grooves at the slightly slower-than-usual tempo. Johnny Mercer’s “One For My Baby” and Roy Meriwether’s “This One’s On Me” work together logically as a medley since they deal with similar circumstances. Closing off the colorful and memorable program is Mike Kennedy’s “Can’t Stop It,” another song that Deborah discovered while surfing the Internet. The rhythmic piece, originally called “Sing It,” has her lyrics and hot scatting to Kennedy’s music.
Deborah Carter has accomplished a great deal during her career thus far, and she is very much in her prime these days. Blue Notes and Red Shoes serves as a perfect introduction to her joyful artistry.
– Scott Yanow, Author of ten jazz books including Trumpet Kings, Bebop, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76
Carter is one of the most dynamic vocalists in de jazz scene and was given the predicate “absolute top class” by magazine Music Maker. That is not an exaggerated classification, because in her version of standards likes Moanin’ and Señor Blues she demonstrates her ability to handle (hard)bop-themes like that with ease. Neither does she flinch at a vocalese-version of Charlie Parker’s solo in Groovin’ High.
More than excellent performance with very good musicians and a perfect support of Deborah J. Carter by the JoyFelt Studio! As it seems that there are some well-known tracks on this recording, it is almost taking away your breath listening these tracks in a different way of arrangement ! Like “I’m walking, Moanin”, “Too Darn Blue” and the new track “The In-And-Outs” . These songs do recommend to purchase this CD! To mention the musicians is not necessary “for a good wine needs no recommendation”! Hopefully we can enjoy more of this in future ….,
– Joop van de Broek
Deborah J. Carter is the epitome of a world class jazz singer. Born in the U.S. with ties in Hawaii and Japan, her home now is in Europe. Her current concert schedule agenda is a global itinerary of performances from Cristofori, Amsterdam to Madrid Spain. Her new recording, Girl-Talking!, highlights one of her live performances at the Pannonica jazz club in Hague, Holland in 2003.
The concert features Carter with her working trio performing a variety of popular covers and jazz influenced songs. From her first note it’s evident that Carter is a pro. With a polished and elegant voice and diva-like skills, Carter gives the audience an entertaining performance.
The first set begins with a version of the classic “My Favourite Things,” which gives light to Carter’s panache as she sings with playful exuberance while the band delivers equally engaging music. She’s in total control when she scats, chats, and vocalizes on Horace Silver’s “Sister Sadie.” The modern classic “New York State of Mind” is refreshingly smooth as the trio swings along with Carter’s lithe lyrics. Other gems include a moving version of John Lennon’s timeless “Yesterday” where Carter soulfully expresses the haunting melody.
The second set begins with the colorful “Whistle Man” as Carter’s range stretches boundaries with ease. The trio aptly accentuates the singer with solid playing that leaves ample room for discovery on each tune. On the blues-themed “Ten Minute Till the Savage Comes,” pianist Coen Molenaar and bassist Mark Zandveld share impressive solos and drummer Enrique Firpi displays crisp rhythmic skills on the bonus track “Sabado (Barr Si Coma).”
With captivating vocals, good music, and the right atmosphere, Girl-Talking! is yet another entertaining glimpse of a jazz songstress who deserves a wider audience. It’s easy to hear why Deborah Carter is popular with our fellow jazz fans across the ocean
– Mark Turner –
‘Girl Talking’ is her third solo set following on from her highly aclaimed debut album ‘Scuse Me’ from 1998 and ‘Round Midnight’ which paid hommage to the moon and nocturnal life. She has worked with numberous Big Bands, hosted Master Classes at US embassies around the world and tours regularly with her own band and tribute ensembles.
This new live album was recorded in The Hague in Holland with Coen Molenaar on piano, Mark Zandveld on bass and production duties and Enqique Firpi on drums.
Working in a live environment with a tight touring band offers the artist the freedom of expression which is so essential for spontaneous jazz delivery and improvisation and that is a feature of Deborah’s performances throughout this new album.
From the opening Rodgers and Hammerstein ‘My Favourite Things’ she sets the standard for what is to come to an enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience. The opening verses break on this piece for a wonderful electric piano break by Coen Molenaar.
Deborah moves uptempo with Horace Silver’s ‘Sister Sadie’ where she bops Janis Siegel style to the bridge on this fast moving ‘Four Brothers’ type gem.
She adds her own series of rhythmically succinct ideas on Billy Joel’s ‘New York State Of Mind’ and on the classic Lennon and McCartney ballad, ‘Yesterday’ which she arranged for this take.
One of my favourite tracks from the Great American Song book is ‘Girl Talk’ which I first heard performed by Roy Phillips and The Peddlers back in the sixties from the Pickwick Club in London, Deborah offers a dazzling mid tempo version of this Neal Hefti and Bobby Troup standard. They don’t write songs like this anymore.
Carmen Lundy’s ‘Perfect Stranger’ wraps up the first set on this vibrant evening with the band moving in full swing to Deborah’s inspired vocals and scatting. Molenaar’s Bill Evans style piano solo rocks the house up to the third verse.
The killer cut for me on an album of many highlights is the cover of Donald Fagen’s ‘Between The Raindrops’ taken from his 80’s The Nightfly set which has all the subtle touches of the original but done ‘JAZZ style’ with Deborah powering out the lyrics and scat break. One not to miss.
Two self penned cuts ‘Ten Minutes In Paris’ and ‘Sabado’ complete an excellent live set which has the ‘Girl Singing’.
Learn more about this superior album and Deborah’s previous releases from her website at www.deborahcarter.com
– Wes Gillespie –
With ‘My Favourite Things’ she opens vocally powerful, and then continues swinging with Horace Silvers’ ‘Sister Sadie’. No fooling around with this woman, who stands her ground between three male accompanists!
The live-aspect has been respected. By keeping the applause, announcements and anecdotes between the songs the intimacy is enhanced. The set, in which Carter has room for a few more quiet bestsellers like ‘New York State Of Mind’ and ‘Ahmads’ Blues’ (the latter embellished by flugelhorn player Michael Varekamp) between the -at times- adrenalized vocals, supplies compositions by big names: Billy Joel, Charlie Parker, Lionel Hampton. Carter gives her own twist to these standards, sounding beautiful for instance in her own arrangement of ‘Yesterday’. Carter presents this song in a manner that makes you realize only after a while that the original comes from the Lennon/McCartney duo.
Deborah J. Carter belongs to the generation that cherishes the cultural heritage of the Afro-American tradition. On Girl-Talking Deborah Carter manifests herself live as a refined vocalist, who tastes her repertoire on the tip of her tongue and along with that she places the history of jazz in a nutshell. She proves that point with work by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Charlie Parker, Horace Silver and Lionel Hampton. But with her you also find connections to the present: she interprets Lennon & McCartney, Billie Joel and Donald Fagen in a discerning manner. She shows her broad artistic approach in two personal original lyrics. A cd with layers!
Fourteen very powerfully interpreted songs can be found in the new album ‘Girl-Talking!’ by the American singer Deborah Carter. Deborah sang as if this were to be her last album, because at times it seems as if she pulled out the notes from very deep.
On this record Coen Molenaar (p), Mark Zandveld (b) and Enrique Firpi (d) accompany her very professionally. The two sets that are put on this record give an excellent representation of Deborah’s dynamic live performance. Upon finishing playing this album you almost have to catch your own breath as well, as the material presented here is truly overwhelming. It doesn’t come as a surprise that by now she has become a welcome guest artist with several established jazz orchestra’s.
– Rolf H. Polak –
With her most recent cd, the American (now based in Amsterdam) jazz singer Deborah J. Carter distances herself in full speed from her next to last album ‘Round Moonlight’. The ballads for romantic midnight fantasies from that earlier album make room for tasteful up-tempo pieces, with which Carter shows that in the highest gear she can also maintain her warm round voice and clear pronunciation. The accompanying band proves itself sublime in tightness, without losing any blues- en soul-tinted emotion. Drums, bass and piano are in seamless alignment with the intense way in which Carter interprets the more and less originally chosen standards. It is technically impeccable mainstream repertoire, recorded unpolished in the live ambience of jazzclub Pannonica in The Hague. The bulk of the pieces flow easily from tongue to ear, from Rodgers en Hammerstein’s recycled ‘My Favourite Things’ to the two tasteful original bonustracks.
– Armand Serpenti –
The presence of the audience in a venue, enabling their direct reaction to artists’ performance, has defined the different character of this work in comparison with the previous disk by Carter. Besides ballads, on Girl-Talking! one can hear dynamic scattting, juicy blues (Ahmad’s Blues – Ahmad Jamal), and jazz versions of pop hits (New York State Of Mind – Billy Joel) – and all this with arrangements by Deborah Carter. Deborah even risked presenting to the audience her version -probably the already umpteenth- of Yesterday by Lennon-McCartney. And quite convincing!
Carter – an excellent singer- is a real master of her craft.
– Leonid Auskern –
The voice of Deborah Carter equally embodies Latin, Soul and Blues. Deborah Carter has an unbelievably powerful voice, which on her third album again is supported by, unquestionably, a rhythmically strong combo consisting of Coen Molenaar (piano), Mark Zandveld (bass) and Enrique Firpi (drums). With “Girl Talking!” Deborah Carter puts out a quite refreshing and solid live album, which inspires one to attend a concert.
– Johannes Kloth –
Jazz Not Jazz
The overall sound is just what you would associate while listening to a small band in an intimate jazz club. The opener, Rogers’ & Hammerstein’s My Favourite Things, is featured as a staggeringly swinging version with a great electric piano solo by Coen and sets the standard of things to come on this album. Although I was never very fond of the song by Lennon/McCartney, I must admit that Deborah brings a new dimension to the old chestnut Yesterday by adding her own arrangement…and suddenly Yesterday isn’t such a hackneyed song anymore.
Donald Fagan’s Between The Raindrops gets the special Deborah Carter treatment too. And you just know that that’s the way this song has longed for to be recorded all the time.
A musically and vocally inspiring album and certainly makes your mouth water to go out and see Deborah and her band live in performance.
– Dirk Binsau –
All About Jazz
Deborah J. Carter is a nomad whose international singing career lies beyond her native North America. Bluesy inflections, jazzy phrasing, and a mid-range earthy tone keep her busy in vocal jazz circuits from Spain into Central Europe.
Carter’s interpretive framework in her second release is the trio format, although various guest musicians fortify the recording. The welcoming sense of intimacy afforded by Carter’s singing is never lost, nonetheless. Her tribute to Carmen Lundy in “The Lamp Is Low” illustrates the latter point rather well. After a straight up piano-vocal duo head, the trio cascades into action for Carter’s bouncy scatting and ensuing rhythmic happy-go-lucky choruses. Indeed, Carter’s style and delivery could very well be compared with Lundy’s. Both, however, remain distinctive and enjoyable entities in spite of their commonalities.
“The Late Late Show” is a swinging boppish vehicle for the trio’s musical versatility. Although remaining within mainstream jazz territories, the musicians also outsorce Brazilian motifs. ‘Round Moonlight is a rather generous recording in length, tempos, hints and steady jazz vocals from a woman in her vocal and intellectual prime. Her arranging and writing is as fine as the players that accompany her, who know how to support a vocalist in enriched and unobtrusive ways.
– Javier Antonio Quiñones Ortiz –
Jazz Not Jazz
… it’s as a good an album like you would expect from an US American jazz singer like Carmen Lundy, Dianne Reeves or Nneena Freelon.
The album starts with a cover version of Moonlight (from the Sabrina motion picture), a pleasant slightly swinging jazz song with a nice acoustic guitar. The title song, ‘Round Moonlight, was written by Deborah Carter and her pianist Coen Molenaar and is a great ballad with fine instrumentation by the trio line-up. Michael Frank’s Monk’s New Tune features some great vibes by Frits Landesbergen and never ever have lyrics like ‘I’m drinking Mai-Tai’s with pink umbrellas’ sounded better. Frits and his vibes can be heard again on Moonflower (which he co-wrote with Deborah), a very good after hours ballad. Carmen Lundy’s The Lamp Is Low gets a fine remake including some fine scatting by Deborah. Another original, Feels Like Summer (Summer Nocturne), sounds very interesting due to some additional percussion and udu by Jeroen de Rijk giving this track a little exotic feeling. From summer to autumn with Autumn Nocturne, another fine cover version that just fits perfect to the overall mood of this album. Add to these seven mentioned songs seven songs more like Wintertime (that’s just Deborah and piano), a cover of Sting’s Sister Moon (with a nice organ this is finally a version of a Sting song I like) and Henry Mancini’s Moon River (from Breakfast At Tiffany’s), here called La Luna and sung in Spanish. Deborah really adds something unique to this old chestnut.
With competent musicians, a great singer and a fine mixture of originals with (not so obvious) cover versions ‘Round Moonlight is really a great and pleasant album that any lover of female jazz singers should have.
No fault can be found with ‘Round Moonlight, the newest solo CD of American-born singer Deborah J. Carter, now residing in Amsterdam. The recording quality is perfect and the contemporary mainstream ballads – all centered around the “moon” theme – are sung very imaginatively. The straightforward instrumental accompaniment is completely at the service of the rich and full voice of Carter. In a colorful and extremely rhythmic way the singer interprets – besides her own compositions – repertoire that ranges from John Williams’ “Moonlight” and Michael Franks’ “Monks’ New Tune” to Sting’s “Sister Moon” and Van Morrisons’ “Moondance”. Carter knows all the facets of moonlight. ‘Round Moonlight has all the magical attraction of a full moon. With a timing and phrasing like that of an instrumentalist, Carter sings not only about the resplendent side, but also of the mysterious side of this ever-inspiring heavenly body.
…Deborah J. Carter made with ‘Round Moonlight’ her most personal cd
…original choice of pieces that all have something to do with moon, night and of course love.
She sings with a strong jazzy phrasing, and reminds sometimes of DeeDee Bridgewater, and sometimes of Sarah Vaughn.
… great intensity and driven performance.
A big plus is the open ensemble-sound dat she and her surprising subtle and tight basic trio create: no cluttered arrangements, but space for special chord colours, musical poetry and – above all – swing.
…played with love and solid craftmanship.
She sings relaxed, loosely swinging, and with a pinch of latin. And with that unmistakable feel that is the essence of jazz.
…one of the top artists in this country.
…very swinging and beautifully interpreted. There is excitement in the album.
…the naturally full voice of Deborah J. Carter…
She and her musicians turn every song into something special – very listenable, with care for the diction of the predominantly poetic lyrics. Instrumentally the fourteen songs are high-class.
The Jazz Site
Predominantly a self-penned album, ‘Scuse Me reflects her past with an extremely versatile compilation of superb songs and exquisite arrangements. Styles include mainstream jazz, swing, salsa, bossa and blues, the latter highlighted on the Ellington classic ‘ Don’t get around much any more’.
The latin cuts are the beautiful ‘ Winter Samba ‘ which is an uptempo caribbean affair in a minor key and the salsa sounding ‘ Sabado’ which would not be out of place on a Cal Tjader, Tito Puente or a Poncho Sanchez album. Perhaps influenced by her days spent in Spain in the early eighties.
Her arrangement of the Gilbert O’Sullivan ‘Alone again naturally’ is particularly refreshing with a mid tempo vocal interspersed with elegant jazz guitar riffs and grand piano breaks. I can just imagine sitting in a club listening to this cut live.
Deborah reminds in parts of Janis Siegel from Manhattan Transfer with her phraseology on the title track ‘Scuse me’ , the Turrentine influenced ‘Sugar 2 me’ and also Carmen Lundy ( Invitations ), Marilyn Scott (Avenida del sol) and Dee Dee Bridgewater (Here’s that rainy day), yet on the Lennon and McCartney classic ‘Golden Slumbers’ and the silky ‘breathless’ she has the velvet voice of an Anita Baker ballad.
This 13 track gem certainly covers many styles across the waterfront and represents the many influences in Deborah’s studies and her extensive travels. They highlight her vocal prowess and are performed flawlessly. ‘Scuse Me’ will certainly bring her to the attention of a wider global audience. Jazz Site Rating – 9 outa 10
The Jazz Review
…Ms. Carter displays a varied number of styles and wonderful voice control. Her own composition, ‘Scuse Me”, shows that this performer really has the ability to “scat” with the best. “Sabado” demonstrates Deborah’s ability to perform in the style of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.
Oog & Oor
She reminds one of Deedee Bridgewater …and frolics on this debut-cd through her own compositions (often with a bossa-groove) and classics from Ellington, Lennon and McCartney and, surprisingly, Alone Again, Naturally by Gilbert O’Sullivan. An encounter that leaves you wanting more.
Her jazzy repertoire is pleasant to listen to and her voice is world class. Her control and expression is rarely found on Dutch stages… Absolutely top class…
Her lyrical interpretation is excellent, completely believable. Carter is never trying to please and doesn’t fake charm, with her it’s natural. She experiments freely with exotic sounds by her uninhibited scatting and also displays her control when she gradually fades out.
Frankfurter Neue Presse & Wiesbadener Tagblatt
(Review of concerts with the Hessische Rundfunk Big Band)
Deborah Carter’s honey-voice soared like a flight of butterflies through the museum-garden.
Guests vocalist Deborah J. Carter gripped the audience from the first note on. The American singer seduced them with her euphonious voice, which she knew to use in many different ways.
An amazingly versatile singer
The Saturday evening in the Jazz Club Minden proved to be suprising in several ways. The excellence of the jazz club’s end-of-season attendance was only exceeded by that of the artist herself. Deborah Carter showed herself to be a great singer with an amazingly versatile repertoire.
With a strong, non-stop swinging voice, she shined in her often latin-inspired original compositions, as well as in wonderfully arranged classics by authors from Duke Ellington to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Her version of the Beatles song “Yesterday” (like many of her pieces with underlaid bossa grooves) inspired; “Sabado!”, which told of a dancing night out in Mallorca, captured the audience.
Impressive was, above all, her amazing phrasing, which shows her solid background as a saxophonist. Her gospel roots also accompany Deborah Carter in her varied musical mixture from rhythm-and-blues, pop jazz, and latin.
Her voice runs through a fascinating range, masters even high registers seemingly easily. The singer, obviously experienced in showbizz, does her work expressively and powerfully – even when she sings her ballads. The applause at the end of the inspired public was loud and intense, and subsided only after several encores.
Jazz Inn-Fo, about the quintet:
…very professional…very gifted musicians…Deborah couldn’t wish for better accompaniment…she sings effortlessly, with all of her soul, she moves naturally and is pleasant to look at. She has a beautiful timbre…
Jazz Nu , about Seabottom festival:
The great vocal surprise was Deborah. J. Carter…a strong voice displaying her church background and a wide knowledge of contemporary styles….the jazz feeling always dominates…
Groninger Dagblad Peter de Vos:
Voice, timing, charisma, all perfect.
About the Duke Ellington tribute tour with the Dutch Swing College Band:
Deborah has a beautiful voice, perfect timing, with immaculate delivery with soul-stirring influences by the great women of jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Dinah Washington. Seemingly effortlessly she expanded her interest and skills to encompass latinjazz, funk and blues, but after all, as a jazz singer, you can’t bypass Ellington.
JAZZ – DISKURS Concert review – Rostock
The the focal point was naturally Deborah Carter. Indeed an extraordinary singer, who apparently was raised on jazz. A healthy use of her voice, an easily flowing timbre and a very crucial feeling for this type of the music, which moves between entertainment and depth, are natural to the artist. She uses the whole range from soft whispers through scat singing to fullbodied tones and impressive head-voice overtones.
The Sunday Times Concert review – Malta Jazz Festival
Deborah Carter’s performance was classy and elegant. Her renditions of Horace Silver’s Sister Sadie, and Peter Sprague’s sublime The Whistle Man were brilliant.