Musical traditions are often passed down from one generation to another, but that transmission can take very different forms. New albums by vocalist Douyé and gospel combo The Sons of the Soul Revivers represent exemplary work by artists honoring their families, while walking very different paths.
Born in Nigeria, Douyé (pronounced doe-yay) was well on her way to establishing herself as a Sade-inspired R&B vocalist when she felt the pull of a deathbed request made by her father. While she was growing up in Lagos he filled their house with the sounds of legendary jazz singers Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington. He died when she was only 11, and at the end he beseeched her to follow her love of music into jazz.
Her pursuit of a musical education took her to London and then Los Angeles, where she studied at the Musicians Institute and released two sultry albums of slow-burning R&B: 2008’s “Journey” and 2014’s “So Much Love.” But in between those projects she felt the call of her father’s wish and started getting acquainted with the L.A. jazz scene, sitting in at jam sessions at the World Stage in Leimert Park.
With “Daddy Said So” (Groove Note Records), she more than fulfills her commitment to her father. Teaming up with some of jazz’s greatest musicians, Douyé effectively applies her compressed range and smoky tone to a program of lush ballads. Her cool delivery often brings to mind the understated approach of Chet Baker and Julie London on their definitive 1950s recordings, and she’s well served by her strong cast of arrangers, who create a shifting array of settings for her appealing sound.