178

Nancy King: Moon Ray

By

Sign in to view read count
Nancy King: Moon Ray With the passing of Betty Carter, a case can be made that the mantle as preeminent bop and post bop vocalist should be draped across the shoulders of Portland, Oregon denizen, Nancy King. And if there were any lingering doubts about her potential beatification, her performance on this album should eliminate them entirely. For more than 78 minutes, King and her very capable quartet regale the listener with vocal/instrumental art of the highest caliber. From the first track to the last, King and her cohorts engage the listener with as imaginative a musical presentation as one can legitimately expect. Clearly encouraged by the informal, relaxed atmosphere of a jazz, the improvisation and just plain letting loose is apparent with each tune. There are yelps of surprise when something unexpected happens or out of sheer satisfaction with a good performance. Ergo, King's hoot at the end of "Yesterdays" or the shouts of encouragement from one of the musicians during King's scatting on Jobim's "Quiet Nights". Her wordless vocalizing throughout the session gives special meaning to the "voice as an instrument" doctrine. It reaches its heights on "How High the Moon". But King can be sweet and gentle as on "Everything Happens to Me" where she saunters in and out of John Stowell's guitar strumming.

With her play list selection, King pays homage to some of the leading contributors to the Great American Song Book, both classic contributors and those from the bop side of jazz. Tunes by Artie Shaw, Hoagy Carmichael and Jerome Kern are given unique treatments. The presence of the two bop staples, Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple" and Sonny Rollins' "St. Thomas" shows King is not only willing to take risks, she relishes the challenge. And the challenge of performing these tunes is to create improvisation of equivalent quality to that of their composers. She passes this test with the highest scores possible - - an absolute tour de force as is the classic Wardell Gray/Annie Ross "Twisted". The latter is the subject of an exhaustive 10 minutes examination where, appropriately, King twists the harmonies up and down and in and out. Wonderful stuff!

Mention has to be made of King's "4", all Italian jazz musicians, but one. Because there is no piano, except for the last track, considerable pressure is on the rhythm section to provide the requisite support for the singer. They do this as if they had been working together for years. Attilio Zanchi's bass at first listen is like a guitar meandering in the lower registers. American John Stowell's guitar assumes the role of the piano as he takes extended, intelligent solos on several cuts. The drums of Gianni Cazzola provide punctuation when needed, but are never intrusive.

If you have a limited jazz album budget, make sure you have room for this one.


Track Listing: Moon Ray; Yesterdays; Twisted; Everything Happens to Me; How High the Moon; Quiet Nights; St. Thomas; Scrapple from Apple; Useless Landscape*

Personnel:

Nancy King - Vocals; John Stowell - Guitar; Attilio Zanchi - Bass; Gianni Cazzola - Drums; Giovanni Ceccarelli* - Piano

Title: Moon Ray | Year Released: 2000


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read The Romeo and Juliet Project CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Crystal Machine CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Life and Other Transient Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Life and Other Transient Storms
by John Sharpe
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "A Zoology of the Future" CD/LP/Track Review A Zoology of the Future
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Ella Lives" CD/LP/Track Review Ella Lives
by Chris Mosey
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Sélébéyone" CD/LP/Track Review Sélébéyone
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "Conditions" CD/LP/Track Review Conditions
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 16, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.