Raves For Hadiza Dockeray's 'Chapter 4': "An Intriguing Mixture Of Old-school Chanteuse And Tough-minded Modern Woman"
(Published: July 26, 2013)
"An intriguing mixture of old-school chanteuse and tough-minded modern woman"
"This is a songstress who writes lyrics with the soul of a poet and melodies with the ear of a composer. This is a songstress who seems willing to lay herself bare musically, singing with a passion that is both sexual and spiritual"
Early Buzz Grows for Hadiza Dockeray's Bluesy, Sexy, Soulful EP - "As her funky backing band creates a storm of edgy fusion and gnarly R&B behind her, it quickly becomes clear what a breath of fresh air we have here"
Rave early reviews have greeted Hadiza Dockeray's EP, ‘Chapter 4'. Rock/jazz writer Nick DeRiso describes Dockeray as "An intriguing mixture of old-school chanteuse and tough-minded modern woman," and veteran critic Jack Goodstein says that Dockeray "seems willing to lay herself bare musically, singing with a passion that is both sexual and spiritual." See the full write-ups, below.
With a fiery stage presence, an affinity for bluesy electric guitars and a jazz-infused vocal style, singer Dockeray makes a lasting impression in her live concerts and on her six-song EP. She packs a depth of emotion into the tracks, reflecting her battles with personal demons, internal peaks and valleys, and even what she describes as the "double edge of free expression and surrender of privacy, peppered with visions of a social network apocalypse."
Featuring the musical direction of pianist, composer and arranger David Pearl, and the performances of three exceptional players - Steve Bargonetti on guitar, Leon Lee Dorsey on bass and Rodney Harrison on drums - ‘Chapter 4' reflects a spiritual journey long in the making for Dockeray.
Dockeray rocks it behind the blistering guitars of ‘All Comes Back' and ‘Off The Grid', delivers the nuanced goods with an understated, storyteller's vibe on ‘Too Long' and the melodic ‘The Other Voice', and busts through the show-stopper ‘Somebody Better', with a video component that conveys the physicality of her stage show, here: http://vimeo.com/68186111
Dockeray's combination of rock, blues, pop and soul influences created the sound she refers to as "Honey-coated Blues". Her EP is available digitally now, with broader distribution planned for Fall. Listen to audio samples, here: http://www.hadizamusic.co...
BLOGCRITICS - CD review
BY JACK GOODSTEIN 7/11/2013
A little blues, a little rock, a lot of emotional introspection-while this is not bad as a capsule description of Chapter 4. the new EP from the "honey-coated vocalist" Hadiza Dockeray, it is just a bit reductive. This is a songstress who writes lyrics with the soul of a poet and melodies with the ear of a composer. This is a songstress who seems willing to lay herself bare musically, singing with a passion that is both sexual and spiritual. Her music is highly personal but, as in much fine art, the personal experience becomes a metaphor for the universal. The songs on this EP exude sincerity; artistic without being artificial.
Born in New York, she moved to Paris after college where she began singing jazz standards and rhythm and blues in cafes and clubs. It was after her return to New York that she began writing her own music, music that grows organically from that rich soil of jazz and blues. From the opening bluesy guitar on the EP's first tune to the closing piano notes on the last, these are songs that build on the foundation of a long tradition.
In a world where emotional upheaval is common, what is needed is some kind of order to believe in. For some it is spiritual order, for some it is aesthetic-for the poet and songwriter Hadiza Dockeray, it is both.
Working with a killer set of musicians, Dockeray has put together set of six tunes that run the gamut from searing guitar-backed rock to elegant infectious melody. If she seems to be moving in a pop direction, her roots are clear. "All Comes Back," which opens the EP, is a classic evocation of what she calls "winter in the heart" featuring guitar highlights by Steve Bargonetti.
"Off the Grid" is a rocker with some powerhouse work on guitars and piano from Bargonetti, Leon Lee Dorsey, and David Pearl, not to mention the driving rhythms of drummer Rodney Harrison. "Too Long" takes a softer pop approach, but she rocks out again with "Somebody Better," a video of which has been around for a number of years. The EP closes with the Latin-flavored tune, "The Other Voice" and an understated melodic "Break Through."
Chapter 4 is the kind of EP that leaves you wanting more. You like what you've heard, and you're disappointed there aren't a half dozen more songs. Let's hope Dockeray is busy working on that half dozen as we speak.
Syndicated via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and elsewhere
SOMETHINGESEREVIEWS / ALL ABOUT JAZZ - Video Preview - By Nick DeRiso, 6/28/13 -
An intriguing mixture of old-school chanteuse and tough-minded modern woman, Hadiza Dockeray puts her foot down on "Somebody Better" - and then uses it to kick the ever-loving ass of some no-account.
Not that there isn't a revealing amount of emotion to "Somebody Better," and a real sense of hard-won vulnerability, but Dockeray (who wrote the music and lyrics for this advance track from new EP Chapter 4) isn't playing the kitteny girl singer whispering her way through a coy entreaty, either.
Dockeray knows what she wants - and as her funky backing band creates a storm of edgy fusion and gnarly R&B behind her, it quickly becomes clear what a breath of fresh air we have here: Amid a recent siege of throwback, songbook-focused, utterly run-of-the-mill vocal albums, Dockeray comes out swinging - in a very real sense. "Somebody Better" was produced by Sade guitarist Ryan Waters. Dockeray, who has recorded with Arturo O'Farrill, also brought in guitarist Steve Bargonetti, pianist David Pearl, bassist Leon Lee Dorsey and drummer Rodney Harrison for Chapter 4.
THE RECORD JOURNAL (CT) - CD review
By Jim Pasinski, 7/2013 -
From New York City come the soulful sounds of Hadiza with her latest release, the six-song EP entitled "Chapter 4." She is looking to take the emotion and energy of her live shows and inject it into her latest studio effort. The bluesy beginning of "All Come Back" shows off Hadiza's pure vocal talents as she slithers her way around the jazzy music backdrop. Then she throws a curveball with the aggressive, in-your-face rock of "Off The Grid," which sounds as if Hadiza had the most fun recording. Her mainstream appeal shines on "Too Long," before closing the album with a couple of sultry, seductive songs, ("The Other Voice" and "Break Through") which allow her really show off her vocal talents. To find out more from this independent rising talent, please be sure to visit her website at hadizamusic.com.
She offers this commentary:
For many years, songwriting has been my most reliable route to emotional survival and spiritual renewal. It forces me to be honest with myself, and reminds me that the truth might hurt for a while but probably won't kill me, and may even make me want to dance when all is said and done.
I use words and music to fight my battles with personal demons, to describe that thin line between sweet solitude and unbearable loneliness, and to celebrate the recognition that unconditional love, from whatever the source, can literally save your life. I'm making peace with my imperfect self. I've also embraced the idea that sharing my story with anyone who is open to hearing it could also be an expression of love. So why not love as many people as possible' This EP is a collection of songs about the recurring challenges that come with being me, and some observations I've made about the challenges we all face together. Thank you for listening.
Dockeray will soon support the new EP with a handful of concert appearances, to be announced soon.
EP Notes, written by Hadiza Dockeray:
The title of my EP, Chapter 4, describes my response to recent personal challenges that eventually revealed something of lasting value to me. The most powerful was to finally be able to clearly distinguish between sacrifice and compromise. Once that happened, I felt totally reenergized, musically and otherwise.
When I was ready to start working on arrangements for a live performance, the only person who came to mind was David Pearl. I had worked with him once before, doing a piano/vocal set of originals and jazz standards. But something told me that no matter what style I wanted, he could get it from my klunky home demo to the written page and out to the audience with just the right feel. And when I was ready to get a band together, I left it to David. Good move on my part. I was blown away by the incredible musicians he brought together. Leon Lee Dorsey on bass, Rodney Harrison on drums, and to my great surprise, the guitarist who had me dancing in my seat during the 2008 revival of "Hair" at the Delacorte Theater, Steve Bargonetti.
We started out with rehearsals for a show at the theater formerly known as Triad NYC last summer. I quickly decided that I wanted to make a recording that highlighted the naturally satisfying sound of live instruments being played together in the same room. And while I did have a few very specific ideas about the way I wanted certain parts played, I also had the gift of musicians who shared my musical sensibilities. They reshaped and enhanced my ideas with ease. Too Long became a mix of early 70's soft rock and soul that maybe wants to make friends with a country tune. All Comes Back had been written over the course of a very dark year that I'm happy to say is far behind me. I've performed it many times, and I think this recording captures a sentiment that the lyrics can't reveal (turn the lights down). Off the Grid is probably the most relevant and accurate expression of what I wrestle with most these days: the double edge of free expression and surrender of privacy, peppered with visions of a social network apocalypse. Yes, really. But in the end, a sense of humor and a strong shot of rock will always get me through.
I have previously had the pleasure of being produced by C.T. Tamura (who also mixed four of the six songs on Chapter 4) and Ryan Waters (whose production of Somebody Better is included with this collection). This time I wanted to take a personal approach that would allow me to learn more about how the sound that I want is achieved. And there I received another great gift. Both C.T. and Ben Arthur (who mixed Break Through) were excellent listeners, teachers and translators, as I described what I wanted to hear and feel. And of course, having the EP mastered by Alan Silverman brought me to a new level of understanding and enjoyment in the process of listening. I give special thanks to Katherine Miller for making the introduction.
It was truly an honor for me to have worked with such a fantastic group of artists, and to have been able to invite some very good friends to add their talents as well. Even Steven Levee is a guest bassist, Gary Fritz plays percussion, and Richard Kranzler did all of the photography for the project. I hope that everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.
HADIZA DOCKERAY is a vocalist and songwriter from New York City. Raised in St. Albans, Queens by Nigerian and Jamaican-American parents, she moved to Paris after college. While studying and working there as a backing vocalist and dancer, she discovered a passion for music that led her down a new path. With her 5-piece band, Hadiza performed in cafés and clubs, interpreting jazz standards and covers of r&b classics. Soon after returning to New York, she began writing her own music.
Hadiza quickly gained notice for her mellifluous voice, thought-provoking lyrics and high-energy performance style. After several years of playing local venues including The Bitter End, CB's 313 Gallery, and West Bank Café, she brought her sound to a wider audience by way of the music video "Somebody Better". The video was directed by Craig Cobb and produced for Hadiza by M8 Films, LLC. The song was produced by Ryan Waters, guitarist for Sade and co-founder of the band ill .
In keeping with her musical roots, Hadiza also enjoys the chance to perform jazz and popular standards, as well as traditional blues. She has recorded with Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer Arturo O'Farrill, Director of The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and performed with acclaimed pianist and composer John DiMartino at The Harvard Club of New York City. Hadiza was invited to be among the first featured artists of the Singers Space showcase at Bar Thalia, Symphony Space, presented by D'Ambrose Boyd and David Pearl. That experience led to a continued collaboration with Mr. Pearl, a pianist, composer and arranger who became Music Director for Hadiza's 2012 concert at Triad NYC. He brought together three exceptional players - Steve Bargonetti on guitar, Leon Lee Dorsey on bass and Rodney Harrison on drums - to lay the groundwork for the recording of Hadiza's EP Chapter 4.
CD Cover Photo by Richard Kranzler
Press Release Photo by Klaus Schoenwiese
Produced by Hadiza Dockeray
More Information: http://www.hadizamusic.com