Every so often, I enjoy taking time to check those sites highlighting up and coming artists from the blues genre. It's truly amazing, the amount of talent currently performing out there, just waiting for their one big break. One such artist who captured my immediate attention was jazz/blues artist Doris Spears. After listening to a sampling of tracks off her latest release, Blues For Grown Folks, I just sat back... saying "Wow!" I was totally moved by Ms. Spears incredible vocal talent, especially her charismatic, persuasive style heard on each of the albums ten tracks. Ms. Spears delivers a sassy, soulful performance throughout, with a natural ease of storytelling that's smooth as silk.
Blues For Grown Folks, highlights the true essence of Ms. Spears vocal artistry, starting with the opening track, "Blues Got A Hold On You". This blues number has an upbeat, urban feel along with a sizzlin' sax solo from Angelo DiBraccio. Spears vocals are vibrant and sultry, adding just enough emotional impact to keep you wanting more. "Jack of All Trades", changes gears with a slow, steady groove. A real seductive number as Ms. Spears elaborates about her man, flaunting his virility by way of his numerous professions. Midway through this blues shuffle is a blazin' lead solo, turning up the heat on an already steamy tune. The next track, "087193" is a bit lengthy, a song about her man behind bars. It sounds quite similar to the track before, making it difficult to stay attentive. "Voo Doo Doll" picks up the pace, with it's hard-drivin' rockin' blues sound. There's some fine keyboard work here, ticklin' the ivories, and a great harp solo. Spears vocals really shine, sounding bold, energetic and powerful. Things slow back down with, "Stolen Kisses", a slow blues ballad that's a perfect fit for Spears. She expresses a passionate vulnerability, reaching down into that well of emotion, you can identify with. Rob Paparozzi serves up some great harp work. One of the best tracks on the album and a personal favorite is, "I Got You", penned by Ms. Spears. A hip, sassy, R&B number that really gets your toes tappin'. Spears lets it loose vocally, visiting both ends from high to low. She builds a crescendo right to the very edge of the scale, hitting the highest note. She suddenly sets it free, as if shooting it out into the stratosphere just as the lead guitar takes over with a blistering solo. The song talks about being in love, Spears articulates that feeling with energetic joy and soulful versatility. This one could easily be found on a top 10 singles chart. "I Believe" is a funky, hip tune, that features dueling lead guitar solos. Spears delivers her sultry charm vocally, as well as on the track, "Where Were You?" Spears saves her very best for last, closing with, "Cried My Last Tear" Written by Spears, the song has a gospel feel, as she delivers her most powerful performance, full of passion and sensitivity. This warm, touching ballad is a perfect ending to her new album
Blues For Grown Folks, her second recording, is primarily focused around Soul, R&B, and the Blues genre. This new recording follows her well received, successful debut album back in '99, The Duchess (Dreambox Media). It showcased Spears vocal expertise covering the complex styling of Jazz. Considered by most and known professionally as a jazz singer, this time she decided to venture out beyond familiar territory and explore other avenues in music. Ms. Spears has certainly proven she can represent the soul/blues genre with authoritative confidence. On the new album, Blues For Grown Folks, Spears demonstrates her intuitive understanding of the genre, her passionate and expressive performance might lead one to believe she's based her career in the blues genre. Her efforts on this new release should clearly indicate to those within the industry that Doris Spears is a force to be reckoned with.
She was born in the Mississippi delta town of Lambert, as a young child, she migrated north with her family, finally planting roots in Chicago. She came from a musical family, her parents always playing jazz and blues records at home, sparking her interest to become a singer. Her professional debut came when she was 13 years old, doing a filler spot for a local radio station in the South Bend Indiana. Every morning before school, Doris would go to the station and sing before broadcasting the weather report. She became a celebrity locally, but was much too young for continuing any further. At the age of 17, she would charm her way into different Chicago jazz clubs during open mike nights. From that time on, she has never looked back. Moving to New York City in the late seventies, she was improving her skills as a jazz singer, working with several respected artists like, Von Freeman, Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt. She caught the attention of Lionel Hampton, who hired her for a two year gig. She went out on tour with Hampton, traveling to Europe, Scandinavia, Luxembourg and the Mediterranean, performing in concert halls and jazz clubs all along the way. During this tour, Ms. Spears was getting rave reviews, really making a name for herself overseas. She developed a following of fans, sparking her desire to one day record an album as a solo act. Since that time, Spears has worked on a recording with the legendary saxophonist Houston Person, and has collaborated with such well known artists as Ted Curson, Clark Terry, Jimmy McGriff and Jack MacDuff. She has also worked with other top named artists and musicians like, Abbey Lincoln, Grady Tate, and Charles Earland.
Spears is a familiar talent within the jazz circuit and has even raised a few eyebrows within the industry itself. She's become a very requested singer up and down the east coast with a loyal following of fans. Her debut album has been very successful, giving her a big boost both in Europe and here at home. With the recent release of her new album, Blues For Grown Folks, Blues fans will welcome Spears with open arms and will be looking for more new albums in the future. Doris Spears is an incredibly talented singer with a voice that's intoxicating, vibrant, sultry, sassy, refined, passionate, and absolutely charismatic. She has this remarkable ability to charm an audience, pulling you directly into each song with soulful emotion and smooth persuasion. She has your full attention, whether telling a story or sharing something personal, there's a strong connection being shared. You'll feel that same connection listening to, Blues For Grown Folks, an album of savvy sophistication. I definitely recommend this album to both jazz and blues enthusiasts alike. This is one singer/songwriter who's well on her way to becoming one of the music industry's most talked about stars.
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