While the term “Renaissance Woman” might often be used to hype artists beyond their true array of talents and accomplishments, it’s appropriate (and maybe even an understatement) when trying to capture the essence of the remarkable Paulette Dozier. It’s possible that Dozier’s success in so many different artistic arenas has a drawback in that most jazz and soul fans in America didn’t become aware of her even as her 2005 debut CD “With You” was receiving vast critical acclaim. Though drawn early on to the influences she shares with audiences to this day—Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker—she pursued other avenues early on. Over the course of her career, she has been a full time NYC fashion model, a jazz dancer on Broadway, an actress, voiceover performer and a coach for aspiring performers and models.
“With You” earned praises from outlets like All Music Guide, which called it “excellent and worth hearing” and Singer & Musician Magazine, which added, “Her theatrical background comes through strong on this CD as she fills her interpretations with a vocal animation that puts you right in the front row. Great voice, terrific band, very enjoyable.” Jazz News made mention of her “sultry and seductive alto voice” and called her a “captivating entertainer.”
If, like me, you missed that disc when it first came out, you best make up for lost time by checking out and enjoying the amazingly soulful, jazzy charms of Over and Over Again, which includes two originals by Dozier and her brilliant producer, arranger and pianist Mike Levine (the title track, “Together Yet Alone”), Great American Songbook Standards (“You’ll Never Know,” “Moonlight In Vermont,” “All Of Me”), and perhaps most remarkably, pop and soul classics we can sing by heart but which we’ve never heard this cool and swinging: Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” Van Morrison’s “Moondance” and Chicago’s “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” and “Saturday In The Park.”
The easy swinging, finger snapping title tune, which features the spirited trombone of Dante Luciani, typifies the overall vibe of the production. Another welcome surprise guest is sax great Ed Calle, whose rich tenor on “You’ll Never Know” adds a dramatic underscore to the speedy rhythms, joyful piano and Dozier’s powerful, emotional delivery and clever phrasing. She brings the expected playful whimsy to “Moondance” and a dreamy wistfulness to “The Very Thought Of You,” but saves her most charming interpretations for the Chicago classics, whose lyrics come to life more intimately via her smoky tones and understated arrangements. “Saturday In The Park” has Jason Carder’s percussive trumpet magic as a reminder of the sizzling original rendition, but Dozier brings out a subtle sensuality we’ve never heard before.
Most likely, all those who reviewed “With You” were hailing the emergence of a great new jazz talent who is thoroughly modern yet decidedly classic and retro. If that release failed to catch on with the masses, Over and Over Again should. The title is a self-fulfilling prophecy—there’s no way you can listen to it just once and be soul-satisfied. If you’re a fan of Dianne Reeves, Nnenna Freelon, Patti Austin and that type of singer, she’s right up your alley. And even if you’re not, do yourself a favor and listen…over and over again.