After two successful and well-received classic R&B albums, singer Douyé is on a career path that has taken an unexpected but ultimately logical turn. Douyé (pronounced Doe-Yay) has re-emerged as a very talented jazz singer on her impressive new recording Daddy Said So. It may seem as if this is a radical change but, as Douyé explains, it is actually a return to her roots, featuring some of the very first songs introduced to her as a child by her late Father.
“Jazz was the first kind of music that I ever heard and it was introduced to me by my Dad who had always played jazz music around the house. He regularly sat me down and told me to listen closely to the music, that jazz was life,” she explains. Her beloved father passed away when she was 11-years-old.
“The last time I saw him, he was ill and was admitted at the hospital, and so he had me driven in for a visit, during my visit with him, he told me that he wanted me to promise him something. He wanted me to promise him that I would become a jazz artist after I became a woman. I held hands with him and gave him my word,” Douyé reflects. “Years passed, life went on, and I became involved in performing and recording R&B. But when I was completing my second album in 2013, it’s like, my father’s spirit came over me and was reminding me of the promise I made to him. From then on, I couldn’t stop thinking about my last conversation with him. It was as if he was reminding me of my promise. With that thought heavy in mind, I decided that I would see if I had what it took to sing jazz.”
Douyé has since worked very hard at finding her own place in the jazz world. Rather than doing it halfway or merely copying the great jazz singers of the past, she was determined to study hard, learn a countless number of songs, and sing jazz in her own way. She paid close attention to the reactions of the audience and the musicians when she appeared at jazz jams at the World Stage in Los Angeles. “If I did not sound good, they would certainly tell me! I gained the courage to give it a real try after getting some confirmation from the jazz crowd that I could do this,” she explained.
Daddy Said So features Douyé singing a set of classic jazz standards. Her voice is attractive, warm, quietly emotional, has a solid sense of swing, and she clearly has a deep understanding of the lyrics. Rather than utilize the same group of musicians on each selection, a wide variety of brilliant jazz artists make memorable appearances throughout the release.
Douyé recorded “Nature Boy” as a duet with the immortal bassist Ron Carter. “Mood Indigo” and “I Loves You Porgy” were recorded with veteran pianist Kenny Barron’s trio. “But Beautiful” and “All The Things You Are” feature a talented Nigerian tenor saxophonist Zem Audu and pianist Benito Gonzalez. Douyé originally recorded “Lush Life” and “Sophisticated Lady” as duets with her friend the late pianist Joel Scott. Later on, tasteful bass and drum parts were added but Douyé kept Scott’s beautiful accompaniment intact. “Round Midnight” and “In A Sentimental Mood” were performed with pianist-arranger John Beasley and a few of Los Angeles’ top jazz players which included saxophonist Bob Sheppard, bassist John Clayton and drummer Roy McCurdy.
Every performance has its special moments. The great guitarist Russell Malone not only arranged “Body And Soul” but organized a group that included trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and drummer Willie Jones III. “Autumn Leaves” was arranged by Angelo Metz as was “Besame Mucho” and “Someone To Watch Over Me” was arranged by Phil Small and produced by Metz. These selections find Douyé joined by the Kim Richmond Orchestra while the warm tenor saxophone of Justo Almario co-stars on “Besame Mucho.” Also included on Daddy Said So is a very spirited rendition of “Summertime” that was recorded in New York with a band of young Cuban Americans led by drummer and arranger Zack O’Farrill, the 21-year old son of Arturo O’Farrill.
“I’m so grateful,” says Douyé. “While it took time to coordinate everyone’s schedules, each of the sessions came together very quickly. It was so enjoyable that it confirmed my decision to sing jazz.”