Dancing With Danielle Reich

Bruce Von Stiers

Around four years ago I reviewed the debut album of jazz vocalist Danielle Reich. In that review I said that Danielle seemed like a seasoned professional instead of someone just starting out. She was already garnering a lot of fans in the Houston area when the album came out. Since then Danielle has performed a lot in Austin as well as Houston. She's also gotten a lot larger fan base and a lot more people saying great things about her.

At the end of January, Danielle stepped into the studio once again. The result is her sophomore album titled While They Were Dancing. The album has a terrific collection of jazz standards.

The album has ten songs and a play time of forty-nine minutes. It was recorded at The Zone, a major studio in the Austin area that has done work with bands such as Los Lonely Boys. The album was engineered, mixed and mastered by Pat Manske of The Zone.

This time out Danielle has a different crew of backing musicians. Playing guitar is Mitch Watkins. On bass is G. Pat Harris and on drums is Steve Schwelling. Mitch has recorded his own albums, worked with greats such as Leonard Cohen and even garnered a Grammy nomination for his work with Abra Moore. Besides leading his own quartet and hanging with his longtime collaborator Anna Mae Mitchell, Pat has played on albums for Karen Goh, Marcus Brown and many others. From Asleep At The Wheel to Suzi Stern, Steve has played with a bunch of people.

Starting out the album is the Jimmy Van Heusen song, Like Someone In Love. From Dinah Shore to Bjork, a lot of vocalists have sung this one. Danielle does an excellent job with this song and the musicians aren't too shabby either.

Les feuilles mortes (Autumn Leaves) is a popular French classic that was made even more popular in other countries when Johnny Mercer wrote English lyrics for it. Here Danielle sings it in the original French format. It is wonderful, even if I don't understand French. I kept trying to remember what the English lyrics were and then gave up and just enjoyed the song. There are some real nice guitar and bass solos on the song. I got a surprise after the solos in that Danielle sang some of the lyrics in English.

Carmen McRae had a big hit with the Victor Young/ Ned Washington song My Foolish Heart. Danielle's rendition is great. Here vocals on the song are mellow, soft and gentle.

I've heard Honeysuckle Rose done a lot of different ways. The one on this album has great bass, guitar and mid-range vocals. It is mellower than some versions I've heard but Danielle makes it work.

Another all-time classic gets a treatment. For some reason, I've always liked The Tennessee Waltz, even though it's more Country than I usually get into. Danielle puts a light jazz spin on the vocals and the guitar work is excellent.

Duke Ellington is someone whose song catalog most jazz vocalists pick from when accumulating music for an album. Danielle is no exception. She does an excellent job with the Ellington song I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good.

One surprise on the album was Mad World. This is a song from the pop band Tears For Fears. As this is a departure from the jazz standards on the album, it was a nice change up. Danielle did well with the vocals and the guitar was very cool.

Moving back to the jazz side of things, Danielle's vocals are melodic and soft with the Jimmy Dorsey song I'm Glad There Is You.

Another icon whose work is constantly covered is Leonard Cohen. On this album Danielle gives a terrific performance of Cohen's song If It Be Your Will.

The album ends with another Johnny Mercer song. This is the toe-tapping, head bopping song Dearly Beloved. The vocals on the smile are definitely smile effecting. The guitar, bass and drums were excellent as well.

The more time goes by, it seems that Danielle Reich gets even more talented. As much as I enjoyed her first album, I enjoyed While They Were Dancing even better. One of these days in the not too distant future you should be seeing Danielle headlining international concerts.

While They Were Dancing can be found on iTunes and CD Baby. You can also order the album directly from Danielle's web site.

The official web site for Danielle is http://www.daniellereich.com/

You will also find her Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook.com/daniellereichmusic

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© 2015 Bruce E Von Stiers