Making the Rounds



Denise Perrier at the Claremont Hotel on the Oakland/Berkeley Border

Denise Perrier [JN, October 1997] doesn't just capture the people in her audiences; she enraptures them. As someone familiar enough with the craft of vocalization, she makes each note her very own piece of magic, injecting into it an uncanny degree of total, unrelenting warmth.

The same warmth invigorated the dancing shoes of the guests of the Claremont Hotel in Oakland, California, last November 14, where we heard Denise (pictured right) for two absorbing sets. Interestingly enough, each tune on the menu was tailor-made for dancing - from the casual smartness of "Where or When" to the torrid, clave-tinged "An Occasional Man."

The tempo cooled with "Until the Right Thing Comes Along," which Denise dedicated to her father, then climbed again with her downright swinging treatment of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are."

Particularly noteworthy was the excellent cohesion among musicians Tammy Hall, piano; Mark Kennedy, bass; Raul Ramirez, drums; and Bobby Tynes, saxophones. It's a rare pleasure to experience live, tight music from enthusiastic players and, fortunately for us, this was exactly what we were treated to.

The highlight of the evening was Denise's sultry execution of "Please Send Me Someone to Love." We were electrified by the warmth of her rich contralto, which seemed to wrap its soul around the entire room, leaving everyone virtually speechless.

Make a special effort to hear Denise Perrier live as often as you can. Until then, purchase her CD I Wanna Be Loved through the Jazz Now Direct CD Store.

by Rosalind L. Picou

February 1999 issue

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