Vocalist Donna Singer has a training background that many singers would envy. The result of that preparation has been several successful albums and one Grammy nomination. “Feeling the Jazz” illustrates how Singer is poised to repeat her previous successes.
About Donna Singer
After completing studies at the New York Academy of Theatrical Arts and Juilliard, Singer continued building her repertoire of jazz, swing and r&b.
To date, Singer has recorded four CDs. All have ranked on the North America CMJ Jazz charts, with at least one going all the way to No. 20. Singer has cultivated fans in the US and Europe, and her songs have enjoyed airplay in those areas. Further, just as her last CD garnered a Grammy nomination, Singer’s current release is set to appear on the 2018 Grammy ballot.
“Feeling the Jazz”: a soundscape
Of all the songs on Singer’s newest CD, “Feeling the Jazz,” a cover tune that intrigues the most is “For Once in My Life.” The Stevie Wonder classic seems as if he is the only one who can perform the song. Singer proves that prediction incorrect.
In Singer’s treatment, “For Once in My Life” has a classic jazz set up. A tinkling piano, buoyant upright bass and drums that clatter and shimmer just right.
Rhythmically, the song sounds faster than the original. Listeners will have to adjust to this idea because otherwise it will sound as though Singer is going too fast. The instrumentation showcase halfway through is a classic touch. Singer’s voice is high, and it meshes well with the instrumentation.
Singer’s treatment of the r&b classic is original. The quality of the vocalist’s voice brings a fragility, a sense of vulnerability to a song about love finally gone right. Where Stevie Wonder made a declaration with a touch of brashness, his voice is echoed by backup singers. They help to verify that he does, in fact, have someone to call his own.
Singer’s voice presents a nightingale singing against the wind kind of quality. Listeners don’t doubt that she has found a significant other; they are concerned about how hurt she’s been while waiting for the idealized person to arrive.
Love is the theme of the CD. And classic jazz is the context for telling stories of love won and lost. Both Singer and her bandmates excel at performing at a fast pace. The near-hyper speed of “Lover Come Back to Me,” dares anyone but the most graceful of dancers to move in time with it.
The instrumentation showcase features the bass keeping up with the lightning speed of the piano. The extreme energy lifts spirits. It is impossible to listen to this song, and really appreciate it, without feeling brighter, if not happier.
Singer is a talented performer who rises to the standard set for jazz singers. She has earned critical acclaim for reasons heard on this album. A listen to “Feeling the Jazz” demonstrates why Singer has earned the awards she has.