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New York Music Daily
Dorian Devins Brings Her Inventive, Low-Key Jazz Nocturnes to the West Village
Singer Dorian Devins occupies a pretty unique place in jazz. She doesn’t just sing standards and the occasional obscurity: she reinvents instrumental numbers from across the years by penning her own pensive, tersely crafted, often subtly amusing lyrics. She sings in a cool, unadorned mezzo-soprano that harks back to golden age songbirds from June Christy to Peggy Lee, and like those singers, works the subtlest corners of her repertoire. For the past few years, she’s led a succession of trios and quartets and the occasional larger ensemble, gigging constantly from the West Village all the way out to deep Queens. (more)
All About Jazz February 10, 2013
Dorian Devins: The Procrastinator
By C. MICHAEL BAILEY
Ginny Carr and the Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet recently paid proper homage to vocalese master Eddie Jefferson with the song "He Was the Cat," from Hustlin' For A Gig (HouseKat Records, 2012). Jefferson, along with Clarence Beeks (King Pleasure), specialized in writing lyrics for and singing the more notable jazz compositions, like "Moody's Mood for Love" and "Parker's Mood." This rarefied musical form has remained dormant for many years, waiting for a new talent to pen new lyrics for old instrumentals. Enter New York City native Dorian Devins on her debut, The Procrastinator. With no shortage of guts does she enter this honored fray, seasoning a collection of standards with her lyrically applied talent to hard bop giants including trumpeters Lee Morgan and Kenny Dorham, and saxophonist Wayne Shorter.
Devins possesses a well-behaved and muscular alto voice that complements her disciplined singing style, one guided by melody in the midrange, not unlike Miles Davis trumpet vision of the '50s and '60s. Standards first: "Let's Get Lost" is a naked wink at Chet Baker, sung minimalistically, sans vibrato. "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" could have easily acknowledged Dexter Gordon, with saxophonist Peter Brainin turning in a densely melodious solo. "Better Than Anything" swings as hard as any waltz can. Devin's singing is crisp and exact and very hip. "Speak Low" is given a breezy Latin vibe where Devins deftly surfs among its waves.
All About Jazz - January 10, 2017
Dorian Devins Hits A Double In The Bleak Midwinter
New York centered jazz singer and lyricist Dorian Devins first rocked my sensitive Southern Consciousness in 2013 with the release of The Procrastinator (Rain1 Jazz). Devins marked a return to that jazz step-child, vocalese: the application of lyrics to well-known wordless jazz compositions. The recording was a cornerstone of that year. Devins played a very large part on The Lou Rainone Quintet +1's Skydance singing two of her compositions (Rain1jazz, 2015). Here on the fulcrum between then and now, Devins releases CD and EP, Imaginary Releaseand City Stories, back to back, much to our delight.