Historically, jazz has documented numerous female contributors to what has commonly become an American art form. For the most part when one thinks of women in jazz, names such as Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday, Marian McPartland, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall, Nnenna Freelon or Dianne Reeves come to mind; however all of these individuals have distinct characteristics, they either sing or play the piano. When attempting to name females with considerable chops as jazz instrumentalists, the list becomes a lot less enthusiastic, especially when stepping out on the more neo traditional instruments such as the alto saxophone. Nowadays, one of the truly iconic names in contemporary jazz is Dutch born Candy Dulfer, a lady who has been changing the perception about women in jazz since 1983, when she first formed her own band entitled Funky Stuff. The name itself implies a self-imposed rebellion against what is expected, an attitude that Candy relishes in her quest to change traditional ideas. In the process, she has either toured or recorded with Prince, The Eurhythmics, Van Morrison, David Sanborn, Beyoncé, Joey DeFrancesco, Maceo Parker and a host of other notable artists. Her latest CD entitled ‘Candy Store’ continues a process of illumination on a career that began at age 14. Since that time, Candy has since garnered a GRAMMY nomination and has traversed the far-flung reaches of the globe.
‘Candy Store’ may well be one of Candy’s most ambitious releases to date. Highlighted by a cornucopia of styles, this newest CD provides yet another overview of Dulfer’s unbridled musical style. Her jazz approach has always been one of funk-laden licks and intense grooves, but on this Heads Up recording Candy Dulfer takes her craft another further with a juncture into R&B, pop, hip-hop, Latin and a whole lot more. The beauty of this Candy Dulfer musical excursion can be found in her comfort zone with other styles of music. She adapts very easily in a variety of formats, but one thing is certain, ‘Candy Store’ is not a smooth jazz clone of instrumental pop. This CD displays a continuation of a philosophy that was adopted from the onset of her career, one that generates a high degree of energy and a diverse array of musical ingenuity. From the very first track to the very last, Candy Dulfer’s exemplary trip into jazz is not for the faint of heart; in fact, ‘Candy Store’ is all about being enlightened and entertained, all backed by a positively energetic style of play.
Although women instrumentalists have struggled to garner recognition as major contributors to jazz, Candy Dulfer’s mainstay has definitely been one of acceptance. Her contributions to jazz have been well documented and have been highlighted by her stellar crossover career as well. Having been nominated for a GRAMMY in 1988 for the release entitled ‘Saxuality,’ Candy has had an amazing career since then. ‘Candy Store’ is but another milestone that expands the awareness of women in jazz, while elevating the consciousness of their contributions to “America’s most original art form.” By amalgamating jazz into a variety of other musical styles, Dulfer has made quite a name for herself as a major influence in an environment where females have been isolated in one arena or the other and defined by what is traditional.
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