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All About Jazz 2006
Dominique Eade on Mountain Stage
By Ken Dryden

One of the most intriguing singers to emerge on the jazz scene during the 1990s was Dominique Eade, a gifted, chance-taking alto with a very expressive voice. Her considerable abilities as a composer and arranger, and her desire to seek deserving but less frequently performed songs, along with surrounding herself with top-flight musicians add to her appeal.

Eade has made only four CDs as a leader, two for Accurate and two for RCA, all of which seem to be out of print. She has also recorded as a guest with Either/Orchestra, French horn player Tom Varner and pianist Ed Strauman. She has been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory since 1984 and is married to saxophonist Allan Chase.

I was delighted when I learned that she was a guest on the public radio series Mountain Stage; I don't know the exact date of the performance, but this broadcast was aired on July 14, 2000. Even though the set runs under 30 minutes, it will delight fans of vocal jazz.

Joined by pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Ed Howard and drummer Victor Lewis, Eade wins over her audience in a hurry with her engaging set. Starting off with her adventurous original "Velvet," she follows it with an unusual medley. Hoagy Carmichael's "Comrade" is not one of his better-known works (written for a children's album) but Eade uses it to set up the rest of her arrangement. Frank Loessor, one of the top Broadway composers of the 1950s (but sadly overlooked by many), composed the charming "Anywhere I Wander," followed by Eade's spirited "The Open Road," which she composed while singing to herself as she took her young son on walks.

She adds a twist by covering Elton John's "Come Down in Time," showing off with a bit of scat and emphasizing her potent lower range. The most engaging number of the set is easily "I'm Hans Christian Andersen" (composed by Loessor for the musical Hans Christian Andersen that starred Danny Kaye). Eade's interpretation blows away Kaye's original recording, turning it into a blistering hard bop vehicle, with the singer seamlessly negotiating the song's twists and adding her infectious scatting after Barth's invigorating solo. She wraps her performance with another tune by Loessor, the appropriately named "Have I Stayed Away Too Long?" She gives it a bit of a loping, country rhythm, while bending notes in unexpected places.

I was fortunate to hear Dominique Eade in person during the last JazzTimes Convention in 1998. Someone needs to get this extremely talented vocalist into the studio for a record date. If you haven't picked up all of her CDs, do so before they become collector's items fetching high prices.

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