Vocalist DJ Sweeney’s quote on myspace.com sums it up, “I love jazz more
than anything!” This waitress cum jazz singer hit the ground running last
August when she debuted her self-titled CD at Jardine’s Jazz Club. Since
then, she has steadily picked up her performance pace, gigging at 12
Baltimore, The Melting Pot, The Peachtree Restaurant, and others. Her
repertoire of standards done in a classic style that should delight traditional
straight-ahead jazz fans. “Standards are timeless. They’re beautiful and
people love them now and will love them when I’m seventy. I’m going for
longevity here,” Sweeney laughs.
You’re only as good as your band in this business, and Sweeney has picked
the best. On her CD, Danny Embrey sits in the producer and guitarist chairs.
Paul Smith tackles keys and Tim Cambron hits the skins. Rounding out the
backing band is Craig Akin on bass. This solid group of musicians provides a
great backdrop for Sweeney’s smooth alto vocal stylings. With influences
ranging from Sarah Vaughn to Gladys Knight, her balladry takes on a bit of
sauciness, but more class, just the way she likes it.
Story by Rachel Murphy.
Reviewer: Vince Staskel
The debut self-titled album by this Kansas City jazz gem is a great find
indeed. D.J. Sweeney recalls the days of caberet jazz and steamy nightclubs.
The standards could not be better presented. This CD is a treat for anyone
who misses a time when a vocalist told a story of longing and of love. D.J.
Sweeney is a great find and a class act, indeed.
D.J. Sweeney is a fine singer who has a straightforward delivery, swings
lightly, and mostly sticks to the words and melody of the songs that she
interprets. She was in Los Angeles for a time but has since relocated to
Kansas City. For her self-titled debut, she is joined by a top-notch quartet
that includes guitarist Danny Embrey and pianist Paul Smith.
Sweeney adds joy and life to a variety of older standards including “I’m Gonna
Lock My Heart And Throw Away The Key,” “You Turned The Tables On Me” and
“I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Other than “My Love Is,” all of the songs
are at least several decades old but she makes them sound relevant, fairly
modern and fun.
The music is never complex or complicated, so a long analysis is
unnecessary. Simply put, D.J. Sweeney sings some of her favorite songs in a
likable and accessible fashion while joined by some of Kansas City’s top
musicians. The only fault to this set (which is available from cdbaby.com) is its
brief length (around 36 minutes) but it is easy to enjoy and a strong debut
An EV Mic (N/D767a) and a Peavey PA