The richly rewarding Grove House is her follow-up to Debbie Deane and her debut on RKM Records, a label run by the illustrious jazz saxophonist Ravi Coltrane. Once again, Deane brings warmth, sophistication and rock-n-roll edge to the table, leading a cast of fine musicians as she sings of love, ambivalence and freedom.
Though a Brooklynite by birth and by choice, Deane, like all of us, yearns for escape. She describes the title Grove House as “a metaphor for a nice, cozy place where people are happy.”
Many of the songs on Grove House feature Deane in a tight small-band context. But even in the sparsest settings, she achieves a huge sound, with lush background vocals and expansive textures. She plays the piano and acoustic guitar parts herself. “I was a piano major at Berklee College of Music — I transcribed Miles and Herbie Hancock and the world opened up,” she recalls. Her tasty Fender Rhodes solo on “Bad Boy” is a case in point. But she sounds all the stronger thanks to a pool of fantastic musicians, including Brian Blade (Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock), Rodney Holmes (Santana) and Tony Mason (Joan Osborne, Martha Wainwright, Norah Jones) on drums; Jim Whitney (Andy Statman) and Richard Hammond (Erasure, Jonatha Brooke, Nellie MacKay) on bass; Chris Cheek on saxophone, Robin Macatangay (Cassandra Wilson, Harry Belafonte) on lead guitar, and Gilad (Al Di Meola) on percussion. Elie Massias produced seven tracks and played a number of instrumental parts. Deane co-produced four tracks with Dan Stein, who filled in on organ and guitar as well. Rich Lamb and Deane did the final mixes, plus additional arranging and production.