Beatles repertoire, you might think, at the very outset, has been done to death by vocalists from every spectrum of the musical rainbow: Beatle-sy, jazzy, orchestral, Afro-Cuban, Brasilian and more… How differently could anyone hack the songs out once more? Well perish that thought. You haven’t heard Daria yet. You’ll ‘blow your mind out’, as the Fab Four, once sang in ‘A Day in the Life’ – not in a car, this time, but in your seat. So better grab one as far as you can from your speakers, if you have a set like mind. Somehow, ‘sassy’ is such a weak word when describing this performance. ‘Spunky’ and ‘nervy’? Better, perhaps but even those adjectives do not quite capture the fearless risks that Daria has taken with Beatles music here.
Right off the bat, you know this is going to be exciting because Daria has chosen the road less travelled, picking rarely performed music, focussing on character and the joie de vivre of the band that revolutionised popular music in a manner that has not been heard of since Charlie Parker created Bebop. ‘Come Together’ is a Beatles anthem that few dare to perform because it is a song that borrows from modern minimalist and atonal music. It’s hard to stay in tune and so many vocalists have fallen by the wayside but not Daria. She is not only stays on point but also on pitch throughout. She is creative with her ‘Bird Medley’ as she weaves in Ralph Towner’s beautiful piece ‘Icarus’ into the track, wedged between ‘Blackbird’ and a gloriously jazzy rendition of ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’. And, of course, Daria has veered towards the Brasilian rhythms too. But she always sounds unapologetic and wonderfully forthright. She also knows her way around Brasilian rhythmic forms and navigates her way through them exquisitely.
Most of all, it is Daria’s voice that is captivating. There is something of Sheila Jordan in the way that she tells stories; so good in fact that I might even trust her with a Charlie Parker melody. Her phrasing is full of emotional directness and daubed with vivid imagery. She can scat with the very best jazz inflection, sing wordlessly with compelling story-teller fantasy and her bright timbre complements everything else with lilting tenderness. Calling Daria one of a kind may be putting it so mildly that I may stand trial for gross understatement.
As if things couldn’t get any better Daria has one of the finest and most exquisitely oiled bands in the business. It too takes a cue from the George Martin arrangements and the Beatles manner of playing, so to speak: minimal soloing, rich harmonic variation, glorious counterpoint and a very high standard of virtuosity. It must be most reassuring to sing with a band that good, that has your back. And this vocalist, from whom we suddenly find ourselves expecting much more, takes full advantage while upping the ante for anything and everything that she might come up with in the near or far future.
Track List: When I’m Sixty-Four; Strawberry Fields Forever; Come Together; Fixing A Hole; Can’t Buy Me Love; Bird Medley (Blackbird/Icarus/Bye Bye Blackbird; The Fool On The Hill; If I Fell; Julia; Helter Skelter; She’s Going Home.
Personnel: Daria: vocals & background vocals; Jonathan Alford: piano, Fender Rhodes & organ (3); Sam Bevan: bass, keyboards & guitar (1, 4, 7, 10, 11); Deszon Claiborne: drums (1, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11); Michelle Goerlitz: percussion (2, 3, 6, 8, 9); Colin Douglas: percussion (4, 10); Jean Michel Huré: guitar (2, 3, 6, 8, 9); Matthew Charles Heulitt: guitar solo (10); Henry Hung: trumpet (1, 4, 7, 10, 11); Mike Rinta: trombone (1, 7, 10, 11); Sheldon Brown: saxophones (1, 7, 10, 11); Melecio Magdaluyo: alto & tenor saxophone solos (1, 7); Joseph Cohen: sitar (2); Matt Eakle: flute (8); Roberta Donnay: background vocals (8); Annie Stocking: background vocals (8) and vocal production (11).
Label: OA2 Records
Release date: April 2016
Running time: 47: 53
Buy album on: amazon
I’m so pleased to read this intelligently appreciative review of Daria’s album. I have been following her career for years and think this collection of Beatles’ tunes the best thing she’s ever done. It’s so creative, courageous, surprising, nuanced, delightful…well, you know, Raul said it all! Thank you.