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Devorah Day

From the somber opening touches of the first note, played by the veteran alto sax improviser Marion Brown, it's obvious that Light of Day is quite unlike most jazz albums these days. There are no desperate attempts to make it palatable to a crossover audience, who expect their "jazz" to always be tasteful and unobtrusive, never filling the room but just lulling in the background.

Devorah Day, a young vocalist who lives in New York, recalls the era of the classic jazz chanteuses: Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Jeanne Lee, and Patty Waters. Scatting as easily as she drops into a basso profundo or does little vocal chord stair steps that aren't necessarily "avant-garde" but are at least challenging, Day proves that her windpipes are amongst the most expansive in the biz.

The combined forces of her collaborating musicians, including Booker T on alto and tenor, and upright-bass player David Colding, create an intoxicating blend of subdued but always potent sounds, including a frenetic version of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Dindi," during which Day does some of her most amazing vocal extrapolations, as well as the otherworldly exotica of "Freejam," which conjures some of the same interplanetary haze of Sun Ra. Vocalist Kid Lucky combines with Day for a dialogue that is one of the weirder and more magical moments of the millennium.

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Joe S. Harrington

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