AVAILABLE NOW: John Dokes’ “True Love”
Available Tomorrow via Rondette Jazz:
Vocalist John Dokes Explores Every
Aspect of Romance, From the Unrequited
to the Tempestuous with New Album True Love
Album Release Event at New York City’s
The Django on Friday, May 3
There’s a love song to capture every aspect of romance, from the unrequited to the tempestuous. WithTrue Love (available tomorrow via Rondette Jazz), vocalist John Dokes turns his attention, and his elegant baritone, to something deeper. Over the course of ten well-chosen songs and an equally diverse range of moods, Dokes explores the more profound, committed side of affairs of the heart, bringing soulful nuance and hard-earned wisdom to each tale of ardent amour.
Though he may have his moments of uncertainty, there’s little question while listening to True Love that Dokes falls squarely into the “cool” camp. Formerly a champion lindy hopper, he continues to get audiences dancing in his regular gig singing with the George Gee Big Band; he carries the same self-confidence from the ballroom to the boardroom, as the Chief Content Officer and President of Accuweather Network, following similarly successful tenures at Viacom and Marvel Entertainment.
When working with the world-class quartet on True Love, though, the executive suite is the furthest thing from Dokes’ mind. The album is the second in a planned trilogy, each of which pairs Dokes with a different frontline horn. The first was 2017’s Forever Reasons, his initial small group endeavor (following his big band debut, John Dokes Sings, George Gee Swings), which featured trombonist David Gibson with the same rhythm section as this release: alto saxophonist Mark Gross (Delfeayo Marsalis, Dave Holland), pianist Steve Einerson (Eric Alexander, Eddie Henderson), bassist Alex Claffy (Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jimmy Cobb), and drummer Lawrence Leathers (Cécile McLorin Salvant, Aaron Diehl).
If these tunes set your feet to at least tapping, that’s no accident. Dokes grew up dancing, but never intended to be a singer. Part of a hip-hop dance crew in high school, he eventually switched to swing dancing, insistent that he didn’t want to be “the old guy at the club.” One of his dance partners, who also happened to be legendary trombonist Slide Hampton’s sister, Dawn Hampton, heard Dokes sing while the two were cutting a rug and encouraged him to try it on stage. He surprised her by joining the George Gee Big Band for a number, after which the bandleader excitedly invited him to return. He’s been back on a nearly weekly basis ever since.
“My love for the music came from dancing to it,” Dokes says. “I always imagine what my feet would be doing to whatever music I’m producing, because they tend to have a mind of their own.”