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The Boston Globe, Friday, November 11, 2005
Vocalist Dominique Eade's two-CD flirtation with major record label RCA Victor has come and gone, but recently she's been writing and recording a lot of music on her own. Over the past year and a half, she and pianist Jed Wilson have recorded 25 tunes together as a duo, all but four of them Eade originals.
It's new work they'll be drawing on at the Real Deal Jazz Club in Cambridge tomorrow, joined by saxophonist Bill Pierce and bassist Ben Street, both longtime Eade associates. But Eade has a special rapport with Wilson, 23.
"I hired him to do something with me at the Natick Arts Center, and it was one of those times when you're like, 'Oh, this is a really wonderful connection,'" says Eade, seated in a New England Conservatory rehearsal studio one night last week. "He was very interested in my writing, and he also has a phenomenal memory. So it was inspiring to me, because it felt like, here's a place where this can go, and I can write more, and we can go forward with this."
Eade started as a singer-songwriter and didn't shift her allegiance to jazz until she began singing it while an undergraduate at Vassar College. Soon after, she saw Ran Blake play solo piano at a Boston club and transferred to NEC. Eade, 47, has been teaching there since 1984, shortly after she graduated.
Initially, her adopted genre didn't come easy. "As I got into jazz, it was hard to write lyrics," Eade says, "because the syntax of the language is so different."
Her two albums for RCA Victor consisted mostly of covers and were made as Eade was becoming a mom. RCA signed her to a contract when she was four months pregnant with her first son ("I wasn't even looking [for a record deal] a that point, after pounding the pavement for however many years"). And she recorded her first record for the label around her nursing schedule (Ben Sidran, who produced it, told her he'd "never seen an artist get out of the studio that quick," Eade remembers, laughing).
Eade decided to slow down after her second son was born four years later. But she still found herself writing music around her motherhood duties. "Typically," she says, "I'd be strolling my son and singing and finishing up a song, and so a lot of the inspiration for the songs and the continuity that I had was through everyday life rather than sequestered away in my practice room. In some way, I think that that opened things up."
As her boys got older and more independent - they're now 9 and 5 - she found she could get to the piano more often to flesh out material with more complicated jazz harmonies. (She was getting ready to do so last week in the NEC practice room after securing a baby sitter for the night. Her husband, NEC dean of faculty Allan Chase, was away on business.)
It's this newfound ability to join sophisticated harmonies and words that has fueled Eade's recent productivity.
"As I had more time to be at the piano, I feel like something happened where the two things were coming together n a very natural way," she explains. "It's been this long process over the last 20 years to get the two things to really come together, and that the wave of energy that I've been riding with this new stuff that I've been working on."
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