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17.6.08

Dayna Kurtz





Dayna Kurtz - Otherwise Luscious Life (Live) - 1997 - Deebles Music [Reissued in 2002 on Kismet Records, US]

The New Jersey native, took the National Academy of Songwriters’ Female Songwriter of the Year in 1997. The following quote is from the The Boston Globe - "There's no logical reason why singer-songwriter Dayna Kurtz is not a full-blown star. Problem is, where does this New Jersey native fit in terms of genre? She doesn't even seem to know. "I'm not of the jazz, blues, folk, R&B, rock, or pop worlds enough to belong to any of them, but all of those things are in there," she says in her press bio. But Kurtz is the kind of singer you could hear for the first time on the radio and swear you know that sepia-toned voice. It will remind some of a throaty Diana Krall or maybe even Cassandra Wilson, with whom she shares a spry sense of eccentricity." © James Reed, © 2006 Globe Newspaper Company. Kurtz sounds at times like her musical DNA contains traces of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits, not to mention the world’s great cabaret singers. This is a very good album, and Dayna demonstrates her vocal, and instrumental talents without any studio tech wizadry on this very basic recording. Buy her "Beautiful Yesterday" album a listen on which Norah Jone lends vocals to a jazzy cover of Ellington’s “I Got it Bad (And That Ain’t Good).” The album also includes covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” and Prince’s “Joy in Repetition.”

TRACKS

1 Postcards From Downtown
2 Miss Liberty
3 Otherwise Luscious LIfe
4 Beside You
5 Paterson
6 Just Like Jack
7 Touchstone
8 Crime Scene
9 Showdown
10 Wonderful
11 La La Song

REVIEW

Dayna B. Kurtz is a dynamic and captivating vocalist. She delivers each snatch of a phrase emotionally, deliciously, languidly if not, and then follows a space of silence for the effect to sink in completely. In this setting of an acoustic combo backing, the magic of her voice against the stark musical backdrop of this live album is particularly effective. Her vivid imagery includes melons shattered by a great fall and a floodlight piercing the black night. But it is not all pleasant poetry in Kurtz's universe. The appearance of a junky in "Miss Liberty" and the raunchy sexual escapade of the title track allow for a dose of graphic reality. A stunning jazz vocalist, Kurtz has spent years refining her considerable writing, singing, and performing skills. National Songwriters Association Songwriter of the Year awards in 1996, 1997, and 1998 followed. These live selections highlight the talent of a husky-voiced poignant singer of peerless caliber. © Tom Schulte, All Music Guide



BIO [ Fron www.daynakurtz.com/bio.pdf ]

"One of the things that I seem to encounter constantly is that I don't really quite fit anywhere," observes Dayna Kurtz. "But I like that, because I can define myself without the weight of other people's expectations. I'm not of the jazz, blues, folk, R&B, rock or pop worlds enough to belong to any one of them, but all of those things are in there." Indeed, the much buzzed-about singer/songwriter/guitarist's remarkable new album Beautiful Yesterday may well be too musically eclectic and emotionally complex to slot into any simplistic music-biz marketing niche. But therein lies much of the dozen-song collection's appeal, with Kurtz channeling a deep affinity for these different genres into an unmistakably personal vision. The lack of a ready stylistic tag hasn't stopped the resourceful New Jersey native from building a substantial audience—and a compelling body of recorded work—on her own terms. She maintains an enthusiastic international fan base that's embraced the poetic passion of her songwriting and the communicative power of her voice, an unforgettable, distinctly husky instrument that's capable of immense depth and sensitivity. She has also inspired reams of rapturous acclaim from critics and won admiration from her musical peers. Kismet Records has issued a trio of full-length Kurtz CDs: the intimate liveperformance souvenir Otherwise Luscious Life, the impressively accomplished studio effort Postcards from Downtown, and the new Beautiful Yesterday. Where her first two releases showcased Kurtz's own songwriting skills, Beautiful Yesterday emphasizes her equally riveting interpretive abilities. In addition to three originals—"Music Box," "Love, Where Did You Go" and the haunting title number—she applies her voice to a diverse assortment of material drawn from Billie Holiday, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Sam Cooke, Eszter Balint and others. Beautiful Yesterday also features guest appearances from Kurtz admirers Norah Jones, who volunteered to duet with Dayna on a warm, subdued take on Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad," and the genre-busting classical quartet Ethel, who compliment Kurtz’s reading of “Parlez-Moi D’Amour,” a tune from the soundtrack to the 1991 film ‘Henry and June,’ and according to Kurtz “one of the loveliest melodies ever written.” Dayna Kurtz began performing her original compositions in public as a teenager, and subsequently spent the better part of a decade touring solo across the back roads of America, selling CDs out of her trunk and mesmerizing club and festival crowds with her riveting live performances. Along the way, she opened shows for the likes of Richie Havens (who became a fan and lent guest vocals to Postcards from Downtown), Richard Thompson, B.B. King, Dr. John, Olu Dara, Chris Whitley, Richard Buckner, Kelly Joe Phelps, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Blind Boys of Alabama, and won a 1997 nod as Female Songwriter of the Year by the National Academy of Songwriters. The fan response and critical attention generated by Kurtz's grass-roots touring efforts inevitably drew interest from the mainstream music industry. Despite its lowkey indie release, Postcards From Downtown quickly found an enthusiastic audience, winning Kurtz high-profile guest spots on such radio shows as World Cafe, Mountain Stage and NPR's Morning Edition. The album also put her on the map in Europe and was particularly well-received in Holland, where it received substantial airplay and became a Top 20 seller, culminating in sold-out headlining shows at Amsterdam's fabled Paradiso (one of which recorded for posterity as Kurtz's first DVD, Postcards from Amsterdam). But Dayna Kurtz has worked too hard to allow such adulation to go to her head. "Every step I've taken has felt really organic, and like they've been made at the right time," she states, adding, "The records I've made feel like honest expressions of where I'm at musically, and the making of them has been joyful and interesting.” For more information on Dayna Kurtz please contact Matt Hanks at Shore Fire Media: mhanks@shorefire.com / 718.522.7171