Dara Starr Tucker: Dara Starr Tucker

The American singer's soulful but undemonstrative style conveys a sincerity that might find her a place in today's saturated jazz scene

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Dara Starr Tucker is a relatively straight soul-inflected jazz singer who, despite being very capable, might well get lost in the ever burgeoning tide of new albums. If nothing else this surely indicates that the supply of jazz is currently far exceeding demand.

But, widely heard or not, Starr Tucker’s take on Try To Remember is both incredibly poignant and evocative, and only goes to show that this is a song which, when done with the depth of interpretive skill on show here, arguably deserves a higher place than it has in the pantheon of the greats. The duo of the singer and pianist Aaron Parks is pitch-perfect when it comes to pathos too, which in itself is no small achievement. More generally, good jazz solos are woven into the singing on several tracks.

The singer’s own If You Asked Me To slips into an urbane groove of the type that might come across well on late-night radio of the nominally smooth variety, and the unfortunate fade not long after the four-minute mark ensures that any bite remains elusive. The same cannot be said for her Letters, which has about it a yearning quality made all the more effective by that interpretive depth (again) and her undoubted sincerity.

Evincing clear diction and spot-on pitching, Starr Tucker never falls back on the over-emphatic, empty emoting that’s such a hallmark of many contemporary singers. This is undoubtedly a good thing and might find her a space in a world saturated with new jazz.

Discography
Scars; Annie’s Song; Falling; Everything I Wanted; If You Asked Me To; Letters; September Song; Standing On The Moon; Can We Pretend; Try To Remember; Just A Closer Walk With Thee; Scars – Freedom (55.58)
Starr Tucker (v); Giveton Gellin (t); Stacy Dillard (ss); John Ellis (ts, bcl); Aaron Parks (p); Mike King (p, elp); James Hurt (p); Vicente Archer (b); Greg Bryant (b); Marcus Finnie (d). Samurai Hotel Studios, Astoria, New York, 9, 30 September, 15 October 2022.
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