Wednesday, February 8, 2012

CD Review: Candy Dulfer “Crazy”



Though you usually find her albums in the “Smooth Jazz’ section, Dulfer’s music has always been about more than ‘just jazz’. She strays, or more correctly invades the lands of funk, R&B, soul, pop, techno and more. No country is safe when this sexy,  high-energy , seemingly out-of-control, but always calculating lady steps on the stage or into the studio.

This marks the 22nd years since her debut album, Saxuality, in 1990. That album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album .But, take note. She was only 21 years old when that album was cut. And even then, she was no stranger to the stage having opened for none other than Madonna at 17. At 18, Prince invited her on stage to play an improvised solo during one of his European shows. At 19 Dulfer appeared in Prince's "Partyman" video. Also, leading up to her debut recording, Dulfer worked with the Eurythmics and Pink Floyd, live, at Knebworth in 1990. Not a bad resume before your 21st birthday.


“Crazy” Candy Dulfer

Once again, Candy has pushed the limits on Crazy to make an album that is high-energy, dancable, funky, sexy and fun. A good deal of the thirteen tracks you’ll find here were co-written and produced by multi-instrumentalist Printz Board - whose mile-long list of credits includes musical director for the Black Eyed Peas for more than a
decade, as well as work with a broad range of artists: Macy Gray, Mariah Carey, Sergio Mendes Gomez, Katy Perry, Burt Bacharach and dozens more.

"I wanted to return to working with Ulco Bed, a great guitarist and my
songwriter partner since we were both very young," says Candy, a
native of the Netherlands and the daughter of jazz saxophonist Hans
Dulfer. "We hadn't recorded together for a long time, so I was looking
forward to connecting with him again. But I also wanted to work with
someone who could show me something new, something I'd never done
before. When I met Printz, I knew right away that we could do
something great together. I was surprised at how easy it was. I would
put a beat down and just play a few licks, and it would be enough to
inspire him to put together a whole chord sequence and write a song."

candy_crazy_08In many way, that statement defines Dulfer;  respecting the past and embracing the new. It’s that versatility that keeps her music fresh and up-to-date, while still being enjoyable to the traditionalist.

Like every other CD that I have of hers, Crazy kicks off like a party. Literally! The opening track is a red hot
saxophone riff, with all the chatter, clinking ice cubes, and noise of a very righteous party. It all comes to a halt when a neighbor hollers out,  demanding some quiet.

Not a snowballs chance, baby. The title track picks up where the party noise leaves off, and keeps the intensity level well beyond the acceptable range of peace and quiet. Built on a call-and-response between Printz's lyrics and Candy's punchy alto riffs. It is this “live feeling” that marks Dulfer’s albums with a vital energy and brings the listener right into the party. You’ll find your self trying to flag down a bartender, even if you’re sitting in your living room.

The album continues exploring different tempos and moods through "Hey Now" , “Flame”, ‘Good Music’ and the beautiful, spontaneous and, yes, complicated "Complic8ted Lives". The chord progression in the sax line is very interesting, even without the vocal track on top. Before you know it, the neighbors are back. One tries to call the party, but of course, no one hears.


"Electric Blue" is next, inspired by the neon lights of Tokyo. Dulfer plays quirky sax lines over a rap track. The tune swings, and not like Glenn Miller. "Get your ass on the floor." commands Printz, and you’re apt to obey.

“In Or Out” is a slow R&B vocal track. then there is “I Do”, a sext dance number before  Printz indulges his fascination with the vocorder on "Rocket, Rocket," a track that morphs his voice into an electronic layer that merges seamlessly with his keys and Candy's fresh alto licks.

The party progresses from there with “No End, even after the police arrive at the door, accompanied by the same irritated neighbor. But the music keeps coming for just a bit longer.

In the home stretch, it's the sultry and suggestive "Please Don't Stop," followed by the "Too Close," a quiet instrumental ballad that shifts the festivities into a more laid back vibe.

Once again Candy Dulfer has made a CD that will appeal to a wide audience, from the boulevard cruisers, to the house party dancers and even the jazz fan.

Dulfer’s band is on tour now, in Japan and Europe through April, check her web site for venue’s and dates.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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