On Dream Lands, Nancy King continues her journey through American popular music, exploring not only classic standards, but other bits and pieces that have been hidden away in the nooks and crannies of the caverns of jazz vocal music. Previous journeys found her accompanied by guitarist Glen Moore. This time her traveling companion is pianist Steve Christofferson. These two are no strangers to each other having performed together at jazz venues and concerts in their home, the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. In addition to the piano, Christofferson employs the Melodica on several cuts. This instrument can best be described as an accordion keyboard without the bellows. It sounds like a cross between an accordion and a harmonica. When he uses this instrument, Christofferson creates an atmosphere which always fits right in with the image King is establishing with her singing. A prime example is the classic "Lazy Afternoon" where King's voice and Christofferson's Melodica beget that languorous, lethargic, but often sensuous, after lunch feeling which comes on a warm, hazy afternoon.
Showing their versatility, the blues are visited with a bit of funk on "Blue Station" where King engages in some relaxed scatting. Her intelligent wordless scatting skills are also put on display with good effect on "From Me to You". This is not the Beatles' Lennon, McCartney tune, but one by Charlie Smalls. The "Picnic/Moonglow" medley vividly recalls perhaps one of the most sumptuous scenes in motion picture history, the beautiful Kim Novak slowly sauntering down the steps of the raised dance floor to "Moonglow" all the time staring (leering?) at William Holden. Adding variety to the play list, King and Christofferson happily revive the 1943 Harold Adamson/Jimmy McHugh song they wrote for the film Higher and Higher and made popular by Sinatra, "A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening". The rest of the session is filled with performances which are equally as attractive. Nancy doesn't have a web page, but Steve does at http://www.teleport.com/~pelagic.
Track Listing: Talk to Me; From Me to You; Picnic/Moonglow; A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening; Like Someone in Love; You Say You Care; Lazy Afternoon; Crooked Road; Blue Station; When the Wind Was Green; Tomorrow's Another Day
Personnel: Nancy King - Vocals; Steve Christofferson - Piano, Melodica
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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