First Listen: David Davis and Tiffany T'zelle pay tribute to Aaliyah

(June 18, 2019) No discussion of great vocalists of the 1990s can be complete if it does not include Aaliyah Dana Haughton, and it is amazing to realize that this artist accomplished so much and left such a giant impact in her short life. Had Aaliyah had lived, she would have turned 40 this year. Aaliyah was respected by 90s children who grew up listening to that era’s fusion of hip-hop and R&B and fans of earlier soul music epochs who knew someone who had the pipes when they heard them. Check out her divine cover of the Isley Brothers’ “At Your Best” if you need any proof.

(June 18, 2019) No discussion of great vocalists of the 1990s can be complete if it does not include Aaliyah Dana Haughton, and it is amazing to realize that this artist accomplished so much and left such a giant impact in her short life. Had Aaliyah had lived, she would have turned 40 this year. Aaliyah was respected by 90s children who grew up listening to that era’s fusion of hip-hop and R&B and fans of earlier soul music epochs who knew someone who had the pipes when they heard them. Check out her divine cover of the Isley Brothers’ “At Your Best” if you need any proof.

Aaliyah died at the young age of 21, and the music world is left to speculate how some with her talent and drive would have evolved and grown had she lived. Of course, we’re also left with the music. Now saxophonist and producer David Davis employs jazz’s time-honored practice of reinterpreting the popular music canon to honor Aaliyah’s work on his upcoming tribute album Remembering Aliyah.

Davis brought in several female singers to provide the vocals and tunes from the Aaliyah songbook such as “Rock The Boat,” “Back and Forth” and on this first listen, “Are You Somebody,” featuring Tiffany T’zelle. The track itself fuses a rhythm section consisting of contemporary R&B/hop-hop percussive booming bass and trap inspired 808 drums that provide the foundation for T’zelle’s vocals, engaging in call and response with her backing vocalists. Those elements are augmented by Davis’  flights of creativity on the sax. Check it out here.

By Howard Dukes

David Davis feat. Tiffany T'zelle
"Are You Somebody"

 
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