by Alex Henderson
When a CD lists John Coltrane's son Ravi Coltrane as its executive producer, one naturally assumes that it contains jazz. Ravi Coltrane does serve as executive producer on Grove House, but this is not a jazz album per se. Instead, what singer/songwriter Debbie Deane offers on this memorable CD is best described as folk-rock with jazz and R&B overtones. Although Deane isn't performing any jazz on Grove House (which is her second album), she definitely appreciates it -- the Brooklyn resident studied jazz extensively during her days at Berklee College of Music in Boston -- and she also has a healthy appreciation of Joni Mitchell, another folk-minded singer/songwriter who has been affected by jazz. Mitchell was never a jazz singer in the strict sense, but jazz certainly influenced her; one of Mitchell's '70s albums was named Mingus (after Charles Mingus), and Deane obviously admires the way Mitchell can bring jazz elements into a folk-rock setting -- which is exactly what Deane does on Mitchell-influenced tracks such as "Yesterday" (not to be confused with the Beatles' classic), "Slow It Down," "Sailor Song," and "Down, Down, Down." But Deane doesn't actually emulate Mitchell any more than she emulates Roberta Flack, who has also influenced Deane either directly or indirectly. Although Flack is known primarily as an R&B/pop singer, some of her early hits were definitely influenced by folk -- most notably "Killing Me Softly" and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" -- and Deane often brings to mind that side of Flack. Nonetheless, Deane always sounds like her own person on this fine sophomore effort.
by Ulrich Kreist
"It's a genuine old fashioned singer-songwriter album in the best sense that while listening to it reminds me of a long bygone: for Joni Mitchell's "The Hissing of Summer Lawns", the first two albums of Rickie Lee Jones, and the old love of Laura Nyro…."
by Richard Antone
"Native New Yorker Debbie Deane is a passionate songwriter with a penchant for jazz-flavored chords and soulful vocals. The word skills of an English Lit major and some fine piano playing make for a serious combo of talent and inspiration."
"Surprise of the month! The debut album of Debbie Deane upon first appearance seems to be a jazz record with a sticker on it indicating collaborators Wayne Krantz and Joshua Redman. However, this is misleading. What one hears is an almost classic singer-songwriter album in the style of the 70's. Debbie Deane's voice often reminds one of Joni Mitchell's on the jazzy records "Blue" and "The Hissing of Summer Lawns"
Executive Producer: Ravi Coltrane
Grove House: New York-based singer/songwriter, Debbie Deane, shines on her first internationally distributed release, which features the single “Down, Down, Down”. With driving, up-tempo songs and earthy ballads, this lyric-driven collection of original music explores themes of love and loss and the dynamic of relationships. Grove House showcases Debbie Deane as a gifted songwriter, performer and arranger with a style that blends elements of jazz and pop. Grove House features a stellar cast of support musicians including Brian Blade (Joni Mitchell) and Wayne Krantz (Steely Dan).
By Mike Bannon
Sometimes a new face just seems to come out of the blue. A talent that wasn't there and just then was. For Debbie Deane, as with most talents, it was the usual decade plus 'overnight' success that just appeared that way. Judging from those she chose to accompany her on her maiden voyage, she did it right though.
When you first hear the soulful voice of Deane you might think of other another soul chanteuse or two. Deane credits Aretha for her piano influence but its not a far cry to hear some of Franklin's emotive vocal signature within her own delivery.
Joined here by an amazingly varied array of New York's current crop of top sidemen, including Josh Redman, Wayne Krantz, Jeff Andrews and Brian Blade, Deane delves into personal experience and various aspects and points of love, loss and beyond. So is it sophisticated pop or the have-groove-will-travel brand of jazz? In reality, its both and both done well. For the apparent influences its just cool and different and that's a lot more than one is likely to get for the most part these days.
Of those influences easily heard in the music itself are Steely Dan (harmonically especially on "Hit the Rewind" and "Kari") and at times even other singer/songwriters like Jewel, Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos, Alanis, Alana Davis. Great company for sure.
Deane has a languid, yet crisp and emotive delivery, soul to burn and has just deservedly scored a German publishing deal with a tour to follow next year. Here's a thought: let's not let Europe 'discover' her before we show we have the taste and hipness to beat them to it.
Other standouts include "Kari" and "Tell Me", where Redman shines brilliantly and Debbie's pleading, autobiographical, jazz phrasing on the latter books a journey we all know all too well. "These Are the Words" displays Deane's gospel power on the shout chorus and "That Can be Arranged" is a breathy reading against a tight acoustic funk groove/modal vamp.
I wish all debuts could be as strong as this one. And its not due just to the the stellar sidemen, though they do add some amazing depth, groove and color to the arrangements, it's the heart and soul of the artist's music and vision. In a word, soul.
For more evidence that she's one to watch, visit her website at: NY Singer/ Song- writer Debbie Deane's Home Page and listen to "Finally Free". "Kari" and " These Are the Words". Since my copy's staying in the player, your copy of the self titled, "Debbie Deane" is available at Amazon.com and CDBaby.com. But like so many things, it doesn't matter where you get it, just that you do.
Singer Songwriter Debbie Deane's debut cd is an engaging collection of sophisticated pop and folk which will appeal to fans of well-crafted music. Deane's lovely voice and arrangements make use of some extraordinary musicians: Wayne Krantz, Rodney Homes, Jeff Andrews, Brian Blade, Joshua Redman and Phil Markowitz, among others. Check out this modern songstress who joins such artists as Joni Mitchell in the realm of modern, progressive songwriting—David Dorkin
“In her original compositions, Debbie draws comparison to established women like Sheryl Crow or Tori Amos. Her singer/songwriting is influenced by the jazz genre and songs like “Sunday Morning Dawn” remind me of the young Joni Mitchell.”
Jazzthing, November 2001 – January 2002
“After a few bars, it becomes clear that Debbie Deane wants to tell the world something. The album “Hit the Rewind” is so powerful that is it is certainly not suitable for background music. The New Yorker singer and pianist does not belong to the numerous up and coming talent who never step out from the shadow of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday or Sarah Vaughan but instead regards Carol King’s “Tapestry” album as her first personal source of inspiration. One feels when one listens that Dean is demonstrating a very own personal style. This is no smooth jazz…She is ont yet polished and cool but, instead, sometimes passionate, sometimes aggressive, sometimes desperate but always expressive and supported by pros like Joshua Redman and Wayne Krantz.”
Udo Pipper - Stereo, November 2001
“A new voice on the jazz horizon – an what a voice! Debbie Deane holds her own amongst the jazz debutants through her incredibly flexible voice…This album possesses the very freshness that we so often miss from the many vocal CD’s that land on our desk or in our CD player….”Hit the Rewind” is a record that is far above average – and even in two songs where Deane’s voice is only accompanied by her own piano playing, Debbie is unbeatable.”
Carina Prange – jazzdimensions.de