Nigeria-born, Los Angeles-Based Jazz Vocalist Douyé Breathes New Life into the Great American Songbook on The Golden Sèkèrè. Douyé Blends Her Polyrhythmic African Heritage with the Lyricism of the Western Jazz World to Create an Astonishing 14-Song Collection of Sublime Beauty and Percussive Festivity Featuring Trumpeter Sean Jones, Guitarist Lionel Loueke and Bassist Buster Williams Available July 7 via Rhombus Records.
The Great American Songbook offers delightful lyrics and delicious melodies that have been recorded and performed by a plethora of singers. However, the repetition sometimes takes the surprise out of the depth of the songs. Often an album of standards performed by the best vocal talent can sound predictable. Enter the extraordinary Lagos, Nigeria-born, Los Angeles-based jazz vocalist Douyé who breathes new life into the tried-and-true standards on The Golden Sèkèrè—her fifth album named after the beaded percussion instrument unique to her homeland.
“I’ve seen thousands of people on YouTube sing these jazz standards, but so much of it feels inauthentic,” Douyé says. “Like my father taught me, I needed to connect with the spirit of each of the songs to understand them directly.”
Bass legend Buster Williams swings in on “Devil May Care,” largely a duet with Douyé that serves as one of many highlights in the album. It’s lightly spiced by African percussion. She sought him out because she admired his work and attitude. “Plus, he recorded with one of my teachers, Sarah Vaughan,” Douyé says. “When he asked me what I was looking for, I told him that I wanted to blend the Nigerian sounds into the standard sound. He was intrigued and mesmerized by such an innovative idea.
In choosing the songs for the collection, Douyé says, “Every song has its own spirit and these songs spoke to me. I’m spiritually inclined.