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CD Review: Claire Dickson - Scattin Doll

Contributors: Wilbert Sostre
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  • Genre: Jazz - Vocal
  • Personnel:
    Musicians: Claire Dickson - vocals, Michael McLaughlin -piano, Greg Loughman - bass, Eric Rosenthal - drums, Gary Bohan - flugelhorn, cornet, Dan Fox - trombone, Glen Dickson - clarinet
  • Tracks:
    Tracks: Caravan, Confirmation, Black Coffee, Love me or leave me, Midnight Sun, Phantom Doll, Just one of those things, My Man's Gone Now, If I were a bell, Ornithology/How High the Moon

On these years when people are exposed to a lot of poor quality music in the media it is always a surprise to find young people who decide to dedicate their live to jazz music. Claire Dickson case is even more dramatic. Dickson was eleven years when she first heard Ella Fitzgerald and decided at that moment to be a jazz singer. Dickson is fourteen now and a Teen Downbeat Jazz Vocalist Winner, but she was only twelve and thirteen at the time of the recording of her debut album Scattin Doll. Scattin Doll was recorded the way a jazz album should be recorded, in two live studio takes.

Besides Ella Ftzgerald, Dickson cites Sarah Vaughan as one of her major influences and one may hear both on her music. Sarah Vaughan influence is clear on the first track "Caravan". Cornet, clarinet and trombone exchange melodies a la New Orleans and Dickson plays with the melodies like a jazz veteran on this jazz classic that starts with a slow arrangement before increasing the tempo.

Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" allows Dickson to showcase her scattin talent. Dickson demonstrates a maturity well beyond her years even though her voice still have the innocence quality of a young teenager. On the blues "Black Coffee" and the swing tracks "Love me or leave me", "Phantom Doll", "If I were a bell" and "Just one of those things" Ella Fitzgerald influence is more evident, but there is some Nina Simone also in the mix especially on "Love me or leave me". It is simply amazing Dickson melody and improvisation sense at such a young age.

Certainly is too early to include Claire Dickson name among todays best jazz singers but there is no doubt the talent is there. If she can sing a ballad like "Midnight Sun" as good as she does with only two or three years of listening jazz, I can not wait to listen to Dickson in a couple of years. The album close with a medley of Parker's Ornithology and "How High the Moon" one of Ella Fitzgerald favorites.

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