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MP3 Alison Dewar - Natural

Fresh versions of classic Jazz standards for the 21st Century. Songs about compassion and passion. A variety of styles, moods and emotions from swing to bossa nova to ballads.

11 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Vocals, LATIN: Latin Jazz

Passionate about music from her formative years, Alison grew up singing and performing in her native Johannesburg, South Africa. From appearing in musicals (and several on-screen appearances) in South Africa, Alison gained a wealth of experience, which in turn focused her interest in carving a career in the music industry. Keen to explore a variety of genres, Alison went on to perform lead vocals with a professional pop band, performing regularly in Pretoria. Alison later joined Johannesburg based "No Surprise" with whom she recorded original material and performed live in South Africa. However in ''93 a trip to Europe lay just around the corner and was to introduce Alison to her greatest musical passion, jazz.

After a brief spell in the UK Alison moved to Switzerland in 1996, it was there she became hooked on jazz. Inspired by jazz legends (including the late, great, Shirley Horn) and determined to learn as much as possible Alison began a formal education in music at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Zürich. She went on to study further with the renowned Zürich Jazz School and enrolled with the St Gallen Jazz School.

Alison then spent a number of years performing with the acclaimed Swiss jazz trio Inbetween as guest vocalist. She then formed her own successful jazz quartet and built up a loyal following in Switzerland prior to moving to the UK in 2005.

In 2006 Alison released her first cd, a five track EP entitled Introducing Alison Dewar. The cd captured a variety of moods and vocal styles from the joyously upbeat Star Eyes to an intensely reflective interpretation of the beautiful Horace Silver ballad Peace. Upon release the cd garnered critical acclaim and entered the Best Sellers list at Ray''s Jazz in Foyles, London steadily climbing to No.7 in their chart. In Europe Alison’s EP was voted cd of the week on Italian radio, and Softly became track of the week and month respectively on Italian and Greek radio, where the cd reached Top 20. Introducing Alison also received airplay in the US, France, Columbia and South Africa. Not one to rest on her laurels, Alison continues to develop and define her craft, always learning from great teachers and mentors including Al Jarreau, BB King, Bobby McFerrin, Jay Clayton, Sandy Patton, Sheila Jordan, Take 6 and The Jackson 5 Gospel Singers.

Vortex Review

''Natural'' is the perfect title for this album from South African singer Alison Dewar: although her material is mostly standards (''You Must Believe in Spring'', ''How About You'') and jazz classics (Randy Weston''s ''Hi-Fly''), she delivers it all with an ease and assurance, an entirely unaffected sincerity, that simply cry out for the adjective.

Appropriately enough, she begins the set with a touching visit to the Cole classic ''Nature Boy'', but it is her unruffled but subtly emotional delivery of the archetypal Jobim composition ''Desafinado'' that truly defines her art, showcasing her crystal-clear diction, the conversational intimacy of her approach and the unhurried, attractive languor of her overall sound. She can swing, lightly but strongly - her ''How About You'' is discreetly muscular - but her chief strength is in the swooningly lovely delivery of the nostalgia-for-Paris piece ''Once Upon a Summertime'' or the concluding classic ''Too Young to Go Steady'', both perfect examples of the art that conceals art.

The arrangements (mostly by pianist Graham Harvey, although ''The Best is Yet to Come'' is an effective duo with arranger/bassist Dave Chamberlain) are lean and tasty, and are played with restrained elegance by the core trio (completed by drummer Matt Skelton), embellished from time to time by tenorist Derek Nash or flautist Andy Panayi; all in all, a striking, immediately likeable album.

Chris Parker, Vortex, London, UK (March 2007)

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