Dennise Neill
"One Kiss" is not enough

One Kiss

Review by Brad Walseth

From out west, Los Angeles way, comes the impressive 3rd 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?

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