Album review:  The Street Where You Live from Donna Deussen and Paul Weitz Trio

An array of classic pop tunes and cabaret novelties are given waltzing jazz rhythms and bluesy atmospherics on The Street Where You Live from vocalist Donna Deussen and the Paul Weitz Trio. The brisk brushed strokes of guitarist Paul Weitz are layered in Geoff Nudell’s twittering flute and Gus Duffy’s rhythmic drumming on the title track making for a festive mood that courses throughout the recording.

The group’s treatment of Joni Mitchell’s signature number “Both Sides Now” features the breezy flapping of Nudell’s flute and the gentle rustle of Duffy’s drumbeats as Matt VanBenschoten’s bass moves with a whispery pulse along the track. The tempo is hitched up a few notches in the merging of “Black Coffee” and “A Night in Tunisia” as Deussen’s vocals adapts to the shifts in the rhythmic changes, alternating between a sensual glide and a bopping scat vamp while Wayne Wayne’s saxophone infuses sparks into the melody. Deussen’s waltzing vocals in “Fly Me to the Moon” gives the track a feminine touch as Nudell’s improvisations on clarinet shrouds the tune in graceful silhouettes.

The soft sway of Weitz’s guitar strokes in “The Very Thought of You” are fringed in the glittering ringlets of Nudell’s clarinet producing a cabaret shimmer. The tempo of “Sister Sadie,“ penned by Horace Silver, pumps up a hopping blues groove that comes to life with Wayne Wayne’s wailing sax and Deussen’s funky scat thrusts. Harold Arlen’s song “If I Only Had a Brain” from 1939 film The Wizard of Oz is swaddled in caressing vocals as the fluid flow of Weitz’s guitar strokes give the familiar ditty a contemporary finish. Numbers like “Waltz for Debby” and “Do Wrong Shoes” are bathed in bluesy atmospherics while the reconfiguration of the Mamma’s and the Papa’s classic pop hit “California Dreamin’” is furnished with a lounging jazz rhythm.

Pop songs are sweetened with a dash of jazz and a scoop of blues in Donna Deussen’s and Paul Weitz’s hands. Their recording The Street Where You Live has a melodic finish and smooth fluidity that music lovers can’t resist.

Donna Deussen - vocals, Paul Weitz - guitar, Matt VanBenschoten - bass, Gus Duffy - drums, Wayne Wayne - saxophone, Geoff Nudell - clarinet and flute

California Dreamin’, Do Wrong Shoes, On the Street Where You Live, Both Sides Now, Black Coffee/A Night in Tunisia, Fly Me To the Moon, The Very Though of You, Sister Sadie, If I Only Had a Brain, Waltz for Debby