Performing original material and covering artists Roy Orbison, Nina Simone, Elvis and Willie Nelson.
On her fifth studio recording, jazz vocalist Cassandre McKinley forcefully embraces music from a mix of musical styles. Artfully and soulfully, she blurs the hazy lines between genres and in doing so, underscores the essence of jazz. Dragonfly is a solid and far more personal follow to any of her previous recordings as she selected each tune with care, then transformed the material from a variety of genres - jazz, pop, R&B, soul, plus a healthy dose of country - freshening them with her own vocal twists and sensibilities to make these songs live again, as they should for an expansive audience.
Award-winning jazz journalist Ken Franckling reflected in his essay about Dragonfly, "McKinley's cover of Elvis Presley's 1960 hit `Are You Lonesome Tonight' is a beauty, even more knowing and heart-felt than those of Frank Sinatra, Donny Osmond and Bryan Ferry."
To the Japanese, dragonflies represent evolution, emotional maturity, and forward motion. For me, they signaled it was time to draw attention to my future and surrender the pains of the past. One day, I was laying in a field in a local state park - and as I gazed up at blue skies and ruminated over new and difficult changes in my life, including the recent passing of my father, I was suddenly aware that humming around me were dozens of dragonflies! I was transformed momentarily, immersed in a feeling of tranquility and peace - and hope. I sighed deeply and fully. It was going to be ok.
Much of the content on this album calls to those times when we have to find the strength to know when it is time to let go, look ahead and travel boldly and optimistically down a sometimes-uncertain path. The artists I've covered are some of my Father's favorites - and the dragonflies have been speaking to me ever since that day in the meadow. This album is my homage to both of them. - Cass
For more than 20 years, Cassandre McKinley has been calling "jazz" home. She has released four studio albums (featuring local legends Herb Pomeroy and Dick Johnson) including a 2006 release "Til Tomorrow" (MAXJAZZ) which is a visceral look at her music with a more "soulful" sound paying homage to the late Marvin Gaye. She continues to carve a pathway leading to "new standards" with a deeper expressive sound. McKinley tours as both a featured artist and guest artist while maintaining a position as Assistant Professor in the Voice Department at Berklee College of Music.