It is obvious... that she knows how to swing and can sell a ballad with the best of them... There's an intoxicatingly
sexy push-pull at the heart of her self-penned STOP THIS TRAIN; a marvelous bluesiness that invigorates Mose Allison's whip-smart IF YOU LIVE and the blurry regret of her DRINKIN' AGAIN can match June Christy's SOMETHING COOL
shot glass for shot glass. If "What's Your Story" is indicative of Donnay's musical future, then let's all be grateful that she's thrown her hat into the jazz ring.
- Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times, March 2007
Roberta Donnay is a major new find. The fact that Orrin Keepnews produced her record is a tipoff, plus that her backup trio includes pianist Eric Reed with four guest appearances from tenor saxophonist Dave Ellis. Roberta has a very appealing voice somewhat reminiscent tone-wise of Norah Jones. However, she is much more of a jazz singer than Jones, swinging, using subtle improvising, making some tunes quite bluesy and displaying versatility. What’s Your Story is a very impressive effort, highly recommended. It makes one happy that Roberta Donnay has decided to pursue a jazz career.
- Scott Yanow, L.A. Jazz Scene
..What's pleasing about Donnay's deconstructions is that she doesn't merely open up these old timepieces. She shows us what made them tick.
- Mark Langton, Marin IJ
Ms. Donnay’s new CD called, What’s Your Story. The compact disc includes sultry and spirited renditions of material identified with such classic singers as Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Ray Charles.
Vocalist, Roberta Donnay, and tenor sax virtuoso, Dave Ellis, are two of the San Francisco Bay Area's most highly regarded young jazz talents. Both are protégés of what is surely one of the Bay Area's most impressive local jazz legends. That would be Orrin Keepnews, still an aggressive producer after fifty years on the job.
Enjoying local and national success as an award-winning singer-songwriter, Ms. Donnay returns to her jazz roots. “It has been a true delight working with Orrin on bringing this project into being,” enthuses Ms. Donnay, “The caliber of performances brought to light in the sessions by Eric Reed, Dave Ellis, Gerald Cannon and Mark Taylor is truly inspiring and what I absolutely love about singing jazz.” Ms. Donnay's fiery style and engaging presence have landed her featured performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival, The Empire Plush Room, The Jacksonville Jazz Festival as well as popular venues across the United States.
Ellis was an original member of the Charlie Hunter Trio and has appeared with Grateful Dead alumni groups involving Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Bruce Hornsby. His most recent album, State of Mind, on the Milestone label, was his second to be produced by Keepnews who writes in his liner notes, "even on the shifting and difficult terrain of early 21st century jazz, a talent as formidable as his should and will be recognized."