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Dessy Di Lauro and Neo-Ragtime in “Sweet Georgia Brown”

Dessy Di Lauro and Neo-Ragtime in “Sweet Georgia Brown”

dessy3dessy3The “neo” label is taken by musicians who are heavily influenced by an older style. The producers of neo soul, neo funk, neo psychedelia, etc. are looking to bring back a once-relevant musical era. However, not everyone can pull this off. In order to be a successful neo artist, you need to make that dated sound do something new. The reasoning is simple: if you just imitate a classic that I already know and love, my preference is always going to lie with the originator unless you change it up.  After all, “neos” is Greek for “new.” Neo genres have to bring something new to the old table.

Enter Dessy Di Lauro and a different retrograde flavor: neo ragtime. Neo ragtime is the sounds of roaring twenties, swinging thirties, and big band forties meeting today’s soul music. Dessy Di Lauro’s style sticks to the ragtime theme while branching out to different tones and variations. Some of her tracks are straight show tunes, boasting an elegant Ritz swagger. Others are more R&B-oriented and perpetuate the style recently made famous by the likes of Amy Winehouse.

My personal favorite from Di Lauro is “Sweet Georgia Brown,” a chummy Dixieland(ish) number. From the playful back-and-forth dialogue to the European jazz club ensemble, the track is just a fun time. At one point, rapper Anon enters the song with a few verses. For some reason, it just works perfectly.

Dessy Di Lauro has the vocal talent and versatility that makes her an artist worth keeping track of. However,  she has strengths she should lean more towards. For instance, I found her lively jazz tracks to be much more enjoyable than the slower R&B. Plus, neo-ragtime is such an open arena that she could really dominate it if she concentrated her efforts. Sacrificing versatility for recognizability has helped several artists before. This method might do as many wonders for Dessy Di Lauro. 

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Biography (short)

Montreal-born/Los Angeles-based award-winning singer Dessy Di Lauro delivers a unique flavor of original music she describes as ”Feathered Fro-hawk Futuristic Art Deco Centric Harlem Renaissance Hep Music” with a live show incorporating elements from the ”Speak Easy Era” with garters, top hats and bow ties. Dessy Di Lauro is backed by her stellar band and horn section led by her musical director/pianist Ric’key Pageot who has toured since 2008 with Madonna on her Sticky & Sweet and MDNA World Tours.


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