When jazz musician and composer Jo Ann Daugherty plays the piano two things come the fore: her a feather light touch and great dexterity. She is part of the vital scene in Chicago, played on numerous records, was a teacher Chicago’s Roosevelt University and when she has found the time she is a solo artist. Bring Joy is her third album, an amalgam of standards, covers and originals all tied together with a relaxed, pleasing approach. But don't file her under easy listening. Daugherty leads her rhythm section through the highways of jazz, but she feels free to digress and take a few welcome twists and turns. Lorin Cohen (bass), who wrote three of the album's tracks, and Ryan Bennett (drums) are always in sync and ready to follow each whim, including their own.
Bring Joy is an album by a player with an open mind. Jazz is main course, but their are plenty of side dishes fulled with blues and even pop. The latter genre is transformed into something special during Stevie Wonder's The Secret Life of Plants. The original was a plodding new age-y pop tune, but Daugherty's reinterpretation takes it higher up the ladder of musical evolution, adding colour and textures (plus the added bonus of Geraldo de Oliviera's percussion).
Her own BJ's Tune and Cohen's Unconditionally should give the confidence to stick to their own material for the next one with this line-up. Playing music by Herbie Hancock, Ahmad Jamal and Abdullah Ibrahim, will land them some gigs (and they do it very well), but jazz fans might prefer to hear something they are not familiar with.
Jo Ann Daugherty: piano
Lorin Cohen: bass
Ryan Bennett: drums
Neal Alger: guitar on "The Secret Life of Plants" & "Alive"
Geraldo de Oliviera: percussion on "The Secret Life of Plants"
Felton Offard: guitar on "BJ's Tune"
- Water from an Ancient Well
- The Way You Know Me
- The Secret Life of Plants
- BJ's Tune
- Hope for Love
- Dolphin Dance
- The Wedding