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New York Newsday (Sunday Edition)
With so much prodigious stepping out by songbirds these days, it's possible for a zesty debut album like Dominique Eade's to get lost in the woods. But in a year when women singers like Shirley Horn, Dianne Reeves and Natalie Cole have controlled the upper reaches of the jazz charts and veterans like Cleo Laine and Abbey Lincoln have been putting out their best work in years, it seems only right that a relative unknown like Eade should make her move into recording as part of the overall boom.
What makes Eade's album distinctive is the restless, passionate intelligence she brings, both to what she sings and how she sings it. You feel the intensity right from the beginning with the title tune, "The Ruby and the Pearl," a tribute to jazz's deceased man of the year, Nat King Cole.
Her clear, precise and dynamic attack is evident both in standards like "If I Were a Bell" or "Out of this World" and in originals like her own "Worlds Apart" or "I Think It's Time to Say Goodbye Again," co-written by pianist Stanley Cowell, who, by the way, sounds better here than he has in quite a while.
Eade isn't just an interpreter of standards or a dabbler in rococo stylings. She sings as if she's discovering the songs' delights for the very first time, and reveling in their possibilities without exhausting them. It's surprising that she's even a relative unknown.
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