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Songstress and pianist Nina Sheldon's readings have a savvy, smiling quality. If she has been around the block some, she is nevertheless not going to lay too heavy a trip on us. Precise in her lyric delivery and rhythmically surprising, she gets right into a snappy groove with a Cole Porter evergreen, "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," supported by carefully chosen licks from John Menegon's bass. After a first chorus she has an extended, dark and firm piano passage, which she overlays with effortless scatting that seems to float out of her keyboard. The Gershwins' "'S Wonderful" is another opportunity for some more of that impressively innovative scatting.
Bobby Troup's "Baby, Baby, All the Time" is perfect for her type of deft delivery, which has a throwaway quality that can only be achieved through real know-how. One is reminded of those golden times when the ladies June Christy, Anita O'Day and the just-passed Chris Connor seemed incapable of a clichéd delivery. Backed by David "Fathead" Newman's warm sax on the gem, Sheldon sings relaxed while giving out solid piano. As throughout the set, she radiates a friendly self-confidence, that of a hip pussycat satisfyingly licking her paws with some cream on her whiskers.
Track Listing: You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Oh You Crazy Moon; Baby; Baby All The Time; S'Wonderful; Insensatez; I'm Just a Lucky So and So; Detour Ahead; Eiderdown; Dindi; Close Your Eyes.
Personnel: Nina Sheldon: vocals and piano; David 'Fathead' Newman: tenor sax; John Menegon: bass; Bob Meyer: drums.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.