Nancy Wilson: RSVP (2004)
Joined by Toots Thielemans on harmonica and saxman Phil Woods, Wilson delivers a charming opener, "An Older Man Is Like an Elegant Wine," a title that not only expresses admiration for masculine maturity, but also captures the flavor of this entire album.
Wilson and her supporting cast of musicians and vocalists prove that old-school jazz need not be stuffy. They provide a passionate, vintage jazz sound that's both fresh and exciting. The latter element is evident on such tracks as "Day In, Day Out" and "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart," both featuring an all-star big band, with saxophone solos by Andy Snitzer on the former and Phil Woods on the latter.
Supplemented by a deep and talented lineup of soloists, ensemble musicians and background vocalists, Wilson is at the top of her musical game. RSVP began with the concept of Wilson picking out songs that were near and dear to her, yet she had not laid down in her 67 recordings during 50 years in the music business.
"Believe it or not, most albums have a theme that runs through them and they didn't fit into what I was doing at the moment," she says. "But they lingered in the back of my mind." The album includes tributes to Marvin Gaye ("Why Did I Choose You") and her pastor, O.C. Smith ("Little Green Apples").
While Wilson has suggested she may retire to spend more time with her family, she proves on RSVP that her voice is never old.
Track Listing: An Older Man Is Like an Elegant Wine, Day In, Day Out, Why Did I Choose You, I Wish I'd Met You, I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart, Goodbye, How About Me, Minds of Their Own (Dois Corregos), Little Green Apples, You'll See, That's All, Blame It On My Youth
Personnel: Nancy Wilson, vocals; Toots Thielemans, harmonica; Phil Woods, alto saxophone; Llew Matthews, piano; Dwayne Dolphin, bass; Jamey Haddad, drums; Andy Snitzer, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Kenny Lattimore, vocals; Andres Cardenas, violin; Tatjana Mead Chamis, viola; David Premo, cello; Joe Negri, guitar; Kim Nazarian, background vocals; Jay Ashby, background vocals, percussion and keyboards; Mike Tomaro, bass clarinet, flute; Paquito D'Rivera, clarinet; Ivan Lins, keyboards; Marty Ashby, guitar; Bill Watrous, trombone; Gary Burton, vibraphone; George Shearing; and the All-Star Big Band: Mike Tomaro, alto saxophone, clarinet; Andres Boiarsky, alto saxophone, flute; Eric DeFade, tenor saxophone, flute; Jim Germann, baritone saxophone, flute; Jim Hynes, Bob Millikan, Steve Hawk and Dennis Reynolds, trumpet; Mike Davis and Jay Ashby, trombone; Gary Piecka and Max Seigel, bass trombone; Rufus Reid, bass; and Lewis Nash, drums
Record Label: MCG Jazz