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Nancy King

She’s been called everything from a “Cult figure” and an “uncompromising artist,” (Earshot Jazz) to “the greatest living jazz singer,” (Herb Ellis). As one of the few improvisers in vocal jazz to master the vocabulary, Nancy King has “indefatigable scat chops and a remarkably elastic range.” (The Oregonian)

Nancy came to the San Francisco jazz scene of the early 1960’s from Springfield, Oregon. It was at the legendary Jazz Workshop that she met Sonny King, her future mate, and joined his band. They headlined Monday nights at the Workshop for two years. Others she worked with in San Francisco included Vince Guaraldi, John Handy, Sonny Donaldson, and Flip Nunez. Another major influence was meeting and studying with Jon Hendricks.

In ‘66 and ‘67, Nancy did the Playboy Club circuit and was a production singer in Las Vegas, then joined C. Smalls and Company, led by Charlie Smalls, who later wrote the music for “The Wiz”.

In the early 1970’s she took a break from touring, settling in Eugene, Oregon to raise her three sons. On weekends she sang in the lounge of the Benson Hotel in Portland with future jazz luminaries Ralph Towner, David Friesen and Tom Grant.

The first recording to feature Nancy King was “First Date”, an outing with saxophonist Steve Wolfe on the Inner City label. Joining them in the studio were Ray Brown, Jack Sheldon, Frank Strazzeri and Nick Ceroli. The record’s release was celebrated at Michael’s Pub in New York City, where the great pianist Bill Evans stopped in to play a few tunes.

Nancy’s collaborations with Glen Moore (bassist for the internationally known ensemble “Oregon”) include performances at NYC’s Town Hall, the Montreal Jazz Festival and several European festivals. Together as “King and Moore” they have recorded three albums on the Justice label beginning with “Impending Bloom” in 1991. That cd and the following release, “Potato Radio”, earned five star reviews from Downbeat Magazine. “Cliff Dance” was released in 1994.

Nancy and Steve ChristoffersonMeanwhile, Nancy had been performing locally and along the West Coast with pianist/composer Steve Christofferson since 1978. In 1993 they released a duo album “Perennial”, featuring guest appearances by Leroy Vinnegar, David Frishberg and Ralph Towner. During the mid-90’s Nancy and Steve were on the faculties of the Stanford University Jazz Workshop, Bud Shank’s Centrum Jazz Workshop and Jazz Camp West, and performed at festivals in France, the U.S., Israel and Canada. In 1997 Mons Records released “Straight Into Your Heart”, recorded in Holland and featuring Nancy and Steve with the fifty-one piece Metropole Orchestra.

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Radio & Podcasts

Life Is A Groove: Celebrating Nancy King, Fathers Day and Summer Solstice

Read "Life Is A Groove: Celebrating Nancy King, Fathers Day and Summer Solstice" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

The Fathers Day broadcast includes new releases from trumpeter Sarah Wilson, vocalist Kayle Brecher and pianist Dave Bass, with birthday shoutouts to Nancy King, Daryl Sherman, Carol Robbins, Jaimie Branch, Lolly Allen and Alicia Olatuja, among others. Also a few music collaborations of jazz fathers with their children. Thanks for listening and please support the artists you hear by purchasing their music. Playlist Miggy Augmented Orchestra “Colorful" from Colorful (ArtistShare) 00:00 Daryl Sherman “I Walk A Little Faster" ...


Nancy King: Overdue Accolades

Read "Nancy King: Overdue Accolades" reviewed by Suzanne Lorge

Before her October 23, 2004 gig at the Jazz Standard, singer Nancy King hadn't played a major New York club in several years. She's never been signed to a major jazz label, although she's come close. By 2004 King had been touring regionally and internationally for four decades and jazz insiders knew who she was, even if the top labels and major festival promoters didn't.Pianist Fred Hersch was one of those insiders. When he invited King to perform ...

Live Review

Nancy King at Jazz Standard with Fred Hersch

Read "Nancy King at Jazz Standard with Fred Hersch" reviewed by Andrew Velez

Nancy King with Fred Hersch Jazz Standard New York, NY May 9, 2006

A definite anticipatory buzz was in the air around Nancy King and Fred Hersch at Jazz Standard last month. It was much like the happy sound a Broadway audience makes upon arriving for the performance of a newly minted hit musical. In this instance King (a vocalist who until now has mainly been a cult jazz figure on the West Coast) ...

Album Review

Nancy King: Live at Jazz Standard

Read "Live at Jazz Standard" reviewed by Jim Santella

Nancy King's duo performance with pianist Fred Hersch on Live at Jazz Standard allows her to share emotional warmth--which she's portrayed naturally throughout a career that spans over forty years--with her audience in an intimate setting. King's personal interpretations of standards and other popular songs have always worked well in the duo format. Her recorded collaborations with Glen Moore and Steve Christofferson stand out as exceptional vocal jazz albums.

Her performances continue to exemplify the best in jazz ...

Album Review

Nancy King with Fred Hersch: Live At Jazz Standard

Read "Live At Jazz Standard" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Nancy King is a jazz vocalist who swings for the fences. An all-out scat master, King possesses all of the elasticity of Betty Carter and all of the panache and control of Ella Fitzgerald. Fred Hersch is a pianist's pianist, the finest ballad-oriented player to emerge from the long shadow of Bill Evans. It's a bit of a mystery why these bright lights had not collaborated before Live at Jazz Standard. The result is East Coast meets West Coast; left ...

Album Review

Nancy King: Moon Ray

Read "Moon Ray" reviewed by Dave Nathan

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 ...

Album Review

Nancy King and Steve Christofferson: Dream Lands

Read "Dream Lands" reviewed by Dave Nathan

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 ...

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Nancy King Leads Improv and Duo Workshop in the Languedoc, August 28 to September 4, 2010

Nancy King Leads Improv and Duo Workshop in the Languedoc, August 28 to September 4, 2010

Source: Michael Ricci

Nancy King is one of the world's pre-eminent living jazz vocal improvisers. And she's incredibly fun to sing with. This summer 15 lucky people will be able to experience that in person as she leads a week-long jazz workshop for vocalists and duo artists in the wine-making village of Roujan, in Southern France.

The workshop, which runs August 28 to September 4, will be at La Maison Verte, a residential workshop facility about an hour away from Montpellier. Nancy will ...


Performance / Tour

Rob Scheps Big Band with Nancy King 5th Anniv. Concert in Portland, OR Tues. Nov. 14

Rob Scheps Big Band with Nancy King 5th Anniv. Concert in Portland, OR Tues. Nov. 14

Source: All About Jazz

Rob Scheps Big Band has been chewin' up & spittin' out Coltrane, Duke, James Brown, Shorter, Loesser, Cobham, etc for fiv years in Portland. A hotbed of creativity, the band plays Tues. Nov. 14 at the New Disjecta, SE 3rd Ave/E. Burnside. Two shows, 8pm & 10:30 pm, with special guest, exciting jazz singing master Nancy King. All ages. Saxes: Gary Harris,Scott Hall, Jake McLain, Tim Jensen. Bones; Stan Bock, Tom Hill, Dave Bryan. Tuba- JaTtik Clark. Trumpets: Rich Cooper,Paul ...




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