Father and daughter unite to make beautiful music on Better Than Anything, the lovely new release from vocalist Rebecca DuMaine and the Dave Miller Trio. Miller, DuMaine’s father, plays piano and is joined by bassist Mario Suraci and drummer Bill Belasco.
“I used to actually be hesitant to admit that he was my dad until I found my way musically,” says DuMaine. “I was Rebecca DuMaine, somebody else, the singer. And now I’m so happy to say ‘This is my dad, the pianist.’ It’s just too cool.”
The interchange between father and daughter is also just too cool, with Better Than Anything containing ample opportunities for DuMaine to apply her personal touch. Her background in acting gives her that edge and allows her the chance to break stories wide open.
This is apparent from the outset with the title track, a chatty ditty that features a rewritten fourth verse by DuMaine. Miller takes an elegantly flexible solo leading into it, deepening the personal nature of the tune.
For DuMaine, it always comes back to the overall performance. She worked as an actress for several years and boasts a BA in drama from Duke University, to go with an MFA in Acting from Rutgers. This theatrical foundation assists her every step of the way on Better Than Anything, enhancing the shaping of words and the delivery of the album’s many lyrical punches.
This plays nicely on yarns like “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’” and “I Just Found Out About Love.” In these two tunes, DuMaine proves her depth in handling varying emotional foundations. The latter features some nice bounce by Suraci and Belasco, while the former pops to life with the singer’s creative phrasing.
Perhaps best of all is the hip working of “Cheek to Cheek.” Miller starts by building a base and the rest of the trio kicks in their portion to unwind into a warm groove. Once again, DuMaine’s style highlights the finer points of this classic tune.
From touches of Latin flavor (“Dreamer,” “No More Blues”) to the Bernstein canon (“Lucky to Be Me,” “It’s Love”), DuMaine and Miller’s trio work through a set of music that is as eclectic as it is pleasing to the ears. Thanks to an accomplished trio and a jazz vocalist with some serious chops, Better Than Anything is a delightful recording.
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