Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Claire Dickson: A "Scattin' Doll" Makes A First Appearance with Youth, Charm, and Large Vocal Potential

Today we have Claire Dickson, a jazz vocalist all of 14, and her debut Scattin' Doll (self-released NDR 102). It's Claire and a trio with added horn soloists here and there. The band, especially pianist Michael McLaughlin, does the right thing, swings their way through the GAS (Great American Songbook) material and gives center stage to Claire. Claire takes the jazz pedigree seriously; she scats and varies the phrasing on each song in the appropriate way. She has incredible poise for her years and a vocal instrument which has the straightforward adolescent sound, the hint of a vibrato at end phrases, and at this point an unforgettable sincerity about it. She's a little like a 14-year old Julie Christie. Listen to Gershwin's "My Man is Gone Now" and you get the yearning, vulnerability and a kind of emotional exuberance that revels in the beauty of the melody.

If she keeps on and there is no reason why she wont, she'll grow into the drama of the song material and gain that depth that a mature vocalist gets only in time. Her scatting will no doubt gain an ever-more solid center of gravity.

In the meantime this is a most auspicious offering. She has artistry, innocence, musicality and an incredible sound that is a product of youth and a love of jazz singing. Is she perfect? Well at that age she is amazing, but of course not entirely perfect. You won't care because she has charisma to boot.

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