Daina De Prez has been playing keyboards and singing in a range of bands for nigh on 30 years. Having led her own band for a decade, she began to concentrate on playing solo in the latter half of the 1990's. The two different sides of De Prez's career have now been captured with the release of "Both Sides," which includes songs that cover most of the last decade.
The first part of the album represents De Prez in a band setting. It opens with the jaunty "Dangerous Man" where De Prez's voice is sultry going on raunchy. Everything clicks into place nicely, with De Prez leading the way on piano. It also features some fine sax (uncredited, but possibly Scott Anderson), as does the ensuing "What Am I Doin'?" where it is definitely Anderson on the horn. The slight tremor in the vocals adds to the effect of "Ghost" which has a piano opening that had me thinking about "Because The
Night." The comparisons draw to a swift end when things burst into life with Steve Clarke's flute. The first half concludes with "Wrapped," which slowly builds to a crescendo before the sax cuts in and takes over.
The second part of the album focuses more on just piano based songs, where
De Prez works with minimal musical support, beginning with "Obsession" which only has piano and sax. "Always In Autumn" is De Prez's answer to "Macarthur Park," whilst "It's A Life" is one of those wistful tunes that seems familiar, even though it is not. It sounds like a tune from a film soundtrack that plays in the background as the camera looks out through an ordinary window of an ordinary house as the rain falls on the window pane. In contrast, "Easy Chair" combines sequencing and piano on a tune that
positively throbs. The second half finally closes out with a solo version of "Ghost."
"Both Sides" is exactly what the title suggests: the two different sides to Daina De Prez. The first side is the band setting which is generally more uptempo, whilst the second is the leaner (usually duo) setting, verging on cabaret. There is quite a bit of contrast between the two sides. One could argue that "Both Sides" is like two mini-albums for the price of a normal one. This view is reinforced by the fact that the album's two best moments ("Dangerous Man" and "It's A Life") come from different sides. Either way, people who like piano-led blues based music sung with style and gusto will find enough on "Both Sides" to content them.
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This review is copyright © 2002 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
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