Released on 15 August 2011, on the Laser Records label (Charlotte, NC)
“The pure-voiced singer, whose supple phrasing and unforced feeling draw you deep into a song, put out two smashing records on the Concord label in the 1980s that made the jazz world sit up and listen. The first, “Let There Be Love,” featured the sublime saxophonist Stan Getz, who heard something special in Dee’s uncluttered singing. Trumpeter Tom Harrell played on the equally well-received “One by One.”
Now, after a 20-year delay, comes “Sagacious Grace,” a beautiful collection of songs dedicated to the memory of Al Plank, the swinging and elegant pianist who was Dee’s close collaborator and a revered figure on the San Francisco jazz scene for 40 years. A prized accompanist with a crystalline touch and rich sense of harmony, Al shaped the music on this CD. He arranged many of the tunes, artfully accompanies Dee and the two prime soloists - guitarist John Stowell and tenor saxophonist Houston Person - and improvises lyrical solos that never waste a note. His spacious playing was equally informed by Frederic Chopin and Nat King Cole.
The tracks on “Sagacious Grace” - the title refers to Al’s keen mind and wit - were recorded in 1990, 13 years before he died of cancer at the age of 70. The musicians were thrilled when they heard the playbacks. But when the tracks were compressed during the mastering process, the sound of John Wiitala’s bass was badly distorted due to a misplaced microphone. After two failed attempts to re-engineer the tapes, Dee sadly discarded the project. Then a couple of years ago, she ran into Bud Spangler, the drummer and radio producer, whom she hadn’t seen in 20 years. She mentioned the ill-fated recordings, and he offered to fix them. Using Pro Tools, Bud and the wizardly engineer Dan Feiszli removed the distortion, allowing Dee to finally release this pleasing recording...
...Al underscores the wistful mood (of I’ll Never Be the Same) with his rich chordal accompaniment and a singing, heartfelt solo that reminds you what a marvelous musician he was. Sagacious grace, indeed.”
- Sagacious Grace liner notes by Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco jazz writer