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Nancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson is an NEA Jazz Master

Nancy Wilson blurs the line between jazz singer and pop singer, preferring to be called a “song stylist.”  Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on February 20, 1937, she is younger than Elvis, Little Richard and Esther Phillips, and only a year older than Etta James and Tina Turner.  Yet, stylistically speaking, she is worlds away from these rhythm rocking contemporaries.  Nancy is more like an earlier generation of vocalists such as Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan or Billy Eckstine.

At 15, after appearing at a talent show in Columbus, Ohio, Nancy was given her own twice-a-week television show, Skyline Melodies.  She worked at the Carolina Club on Prom Night and six months later with the house band. Cannonball Adderley once told her, “If you ever come to New York give me a call.” He was managed by John Levy, 

When Nancy Wilson arrived in New York City in 1959, she knew what she wanted: to launch a national singing career with John Levy as her manager and Capitol as her record label. She got what she wanted and the rest, as they say, is history.  “What I heard that night,” recalled Capitol A&R man Dave Cavanaugh, “was the nasal quality of Dinah [Washington] and the tear of Billie [Holiday].  I signed her immediately.”

An early single, 1961’s “Guess Who I Saw Today,” a marvel of sophistication given the teen tenor of the times, became a staple on jazz radio and in black juke box locations throughout urban America.  An album in 1962, Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley, further raised her jazz profile and provided her with a second juke box hit, an edited-for-45 version of Buddy Johnson’s “Save Your Love For Me.”  She also paid tribute to her idol, Little Jimmy Scott, with a much-loved version of “When Did You Leave Heaven.”  Nancy’s highest charting Capitol singles, the GRAMMY® Award-winning “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am” (#11 Pop, 1964) and “You’re As Right As Rain” (#10 R&B, 1974), are highlights in the total of 20 Pop and/or R&B-charting singles for Capitol.

The two albums which made Nancy Wilson a household name were Broadway My Way and Hollywood My Way, which are just what the titles imply, current and old tunes from the Great White Way and Tinseltown.  Broadway’s standout track was Irving Berlin’s “You Can Have Him,” from Miss Liberty. Nancy the actress wrings every drop of irony out of Berlin’s heartbreakingly ironic lyric.  The hit from Hollywood was the aforementioned “When Did You Leave Heaven,” the Richard Whiting-Walter Bullock gem from the movie Sing Baby Sing.  Both albums came out in 1963 and are part of an extraordinary output of 37 original albums total in her 20 years with the label.

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Radio & Podcasts

New Releases and Birthday Shoutouts To Nancy Wilson and Nina Simone

Read "New Releases and Birthday Shoutouts To Nancy Wilson and Nina Simone" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


This broadcast includes new releases from vocalists Jacqui Naylor and Mark Winkler with pianist David Benoit plus birthday shout outs to Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson, Nicole Mitchell, Sara Caswell, Elsa Nilsson, Carmen Sandim and Dena DeRose, among others. Thanks for listening and please support all of these fine musicians and buy their recordings through this time of lockdown. Playlist Chris Pattishall “Pisces" from Zodiac (Self released) 00:00 Roseanna Vitro “Life's Journey (Pavilion)" from Clarity, Music of Clare Fischer ...

662
Profile

Nancy Wilson: Turns to Blue

Read "Nancy Wilson: Turns to Blue" reviewed by Andrew Velez


..Last night FM radio was on R&B and it was 'Ready Or Not'. ...I was just by myself dancing. And it was oh, my! ...I came out of R&B. ...That's why when people try to put me in a box, like no! There are certain songs I hear, like The Stylistics--oooooh! ... 'You Make Me Feel Brand New' ...my husband and I, that was our song! Reminiscing is the svelte, statuesque (5' 8 ½ ) and still ...

193
Album Review

Nancy Wilson: Turned To Blue

Read "Turned To Blue" reviewed by Andrew Velez


Call Nancy Wilson an old fashioned singer. She sings on key. You can understand every lyric. There's no trickery, just putting the song out there straight ahead. Her careful considerations of what she's singing result in a crispy heat that resides in the domain of the peerless Carmen McRae's elegant “less is more style. This Grammy-nominated set follows up Wilson's 2005 Grammy-winning R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs Very Personal). She brands songs with her own tough-edged warmth. Durham & ...

336
Album Review

Nancy Wilson: Turned To Blue

Read "Turned To Blue" reviewed by Jeff Winbush


One of the hardest things for a fan to do is watch a premier athlete or entertainer begin to falter and show the first signs that age has begun to compromise their talent. It was saddening to watch Muhammad Ali unable to fend off Larry Holmes. It was troubling to watch the great Michael Jordan being schooled by Allen Iverson. Now it is becoming obvious than in the sunset of her career, Nancy Wilson isn't quite the vocalist she once ...

139
Album Review

Nancy Wilson: Turned To Blue

Read "Turned To Blue" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger


This recording is like heirloom silver: finely etched and gleaming with a rich and mellow sheen. Its many delights include top-level players, excellent arrangements and production values, and a variety of configurations from a smoking all-star big band to intimate quartets. There are also great solo turns by the likes of John Clayton, James Moody, Bob Mintzer, Hubert Laws, Tom Scott, Dave Samuels, Andy Narrell and Billy Taylor.Then there's the introduction of splendid new material, including a great ...

183
Album Review

Nancy Wilson: R​.​S​.​V​.​P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal)

Read "R​.​S​.​V​.​P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal)" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins


As she says in her opening line, “Some things are worth waiting for," Nancy Wilson presents a collection of vintage jazz that is well worth the wait. Listening to RSVP (rare songs, very personal) is like finally popping the cork to a prized bottle after decades of anticipation.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 ...

273
Album Review

Nancy Wilson: R​.​S​.​V​.​P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal)

Read "R​.​S​.​V​.​P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal)" reviewed by Jim Santella


As Nancy Wilson sings about having her troubles evaporate, she must surely realize that her music has had that effect on us for ages. Just one listen, and we know. Her performances rescue us from our daily doldrums and elevate our mood for keeps.In late 2002 and early 2003, she recorded with different ensembles at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh. Her intimate studio performances are some of the best ever.She works with strings, big bands, ...

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Recording

Amber Weekes Celebrates Nancy Wilson On Her New Release 'A Lady With A Song'

Amber Weekes Celebrates Nancy Wilson On Her New Release 'A Lady With A Song'

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

A memorable jazz singer based in Southern California, Amber Weekes has always been a storyteller who puts a lot of heart and honest feelings into her interpretations of superior standards taken from a wide variety of sources. The same can be said of Nancy Wilson (1937–2018). The beloved singer was discovered by Cannonball Adderley (with whom she made a classic album), recorded a string of jazz-inspired albums for Capitol in the 1960s, had great success in the pop world, and ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Nancy Wilson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Nancy Wilson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Nancy Wilson's birthday today!

Nancy Wilson blurs the line between jazz singer and pop singer, preferring to be called a “song stylist.”  Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on February 20, 1937, she is younger than Elvis, Little Richard and Esther Phillips, and only a year older than Etta James and Tina Turner.  Yet, stylistically speaking, she is worlds away from these rhythm rocking contemporaries.  Nancy is more like an earlier generation of vocalists such as Nat ...

Video / DVD

New Nancy Wilson Videos

New Nancy Wilson Videos

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

There has been a surge of new Nancy Wilson videos going up at YouTube this year, especially in past few months. The majestic magnificence of Nancy only grows with time—her jazz feel, her soulful swing, her signature phrasing and how she operated her mouth to produce notes that belonged to her and her alone. Here are 10 newly posted Nancy Wilson videos taped between 1967 and 1985: Here's Alright, OK, You Win, on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967... ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Nancy Wilson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Nancy Wilson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Nancy Wilson's birthday today!

Nancy Wilson’s musical style is so diverse that it is hard to classify. Over the years her repertoire has included pop style ballads, jazz and blues, show tunes and well known standards. Critics have described her as “a jazz singer,” “a blues singer,” “a pop singer,” and “a cabaret singer.” Still others have referred to her as “a storyteller,” “a professor emeritus of body language,” “a consummate actress,” and “the complete ...

1

Video / DVD

Live Nancy Wilson Clips in the '60s

Live Nancy Wilson Clips in the '60s

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Want to hear something freaky? Last night I had a sudden urge to watch newly uploaded videos of Nancy Wilson and share them with you today. When I went onto her Wikipedia page after writing my post, I realized she had died on December 13 three years ago to the date. Why I had the urge to re-visit Miss Nancy on the anniversary of her passing is beyond me. Something in the stars. Or a warm whisper from Miss Nancy ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Nancy Wilson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Nancy Wilson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Nancy Wilson's birthday today!

Nancy Wilson’s musical style is so diverse that it is hard to classify. Over the years her repertoire has included pop style ballads, jazz and blues, show tunes and well known standards. Critics have described her as “a jazz singer,” “a blues singer,” “a pop singer,” and “a cabaret singer.” Still others have referred to her as “a storyteller,” “a professor emeritus of body language,” “a consummate actress,” and “the complete ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Nancy Wilson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Nancy Wilson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Nancy Wilson's birthday today!

Nancy Wilson’s musical style is so diverse that it is hard to classify. Over the years her repertoire has included pop style ballads, jazz and blues, show tunes and well known standards. Critics have described her as “a jazz singer,” “a blues singer,” “a pop singer,” and “a cabaret singer.” Still others have referred to her as “a storyteller,” “a professor emeritus of body language,” “a consummate actress,” and “the complete ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Nancy Wilson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Nancy Wilson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Nancy Wilson's birthday today!

Nancy Wilson’s musical style is so diverse that it is hard to classify. Over the years her repertoire has included pop style ballads, jazz and blues, show tunes and well known standards. Critics have described her as “a jazz singer,” “a blues singer,” “a pop singer,” and “a cabaret singer.” Still others have referred to her as “a storyteller,” “a professor emeritus of body language,” “a consummate actress... Read more.

Place ...

Video / DVD

9 Nancy Wilson Video Clips

9 Nancy Wilson Video Clips

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

The late Nancy Wilson worked tirelessly during her long singing and acting career. Days off were rare. Weekends meant work and holidays meant work. If she wasn't touring to support one of her Capitol albums she was appearing at one of the country's top supper clubs. Or she was in Las Vegas or on television variety shows. Or she was acting in dramas. People forget that Nancy was quite a good actress. When she announced her retirement from touring in ...

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Obituary

Nancy Wilson: 1937-2018

Nancy Wilson: 1937-2018

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Nancy Wilson, a sassy and sultry jazz-pop singer with extraordinary vocal and visual performing talents who emerged in 1959 just as the pop charts were starting to be dominated by soft Brazilian voices, vocal harmonies by beach bands, British invaders and back-beat soul from Detroit and Memphis, died yesterday. She was 81. Nancy was first and foremost a superb story-singer who let songs run through her and whose face and voice perfectly expressed the elation or pained determination detailed in ...

Diane Marino
piano and vocals
Nancy Kelly
vocals
Amy Banks
vocals
Léah Kline
vocals
Pepa Niebla
vocals
Niebla
vocals
Emily Asher
trombone
Ann Osmond
vocals
Beth Duncan
vocals
Habaka KFJ
vocals
HANKA G
vocals
Lauren Bush
vocals
Lisa Yves
vocals
Monika Ryan
vocals
Mary Cross
vocals
Kai Brant
vocals
George Lake BIG Band
band / ensemble / orchestra
Alireza Kohany
arranger
Alli Bean
vocals
Sixth Street All Stars
band / ensemble / orchestra

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Born To Be Blue: The...

American Jazz Classics
2017

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Today - My Way /...

SoulMusic Records
2015

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...

MCG Jazz
2014

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Something Blue

atelier sawano
2014

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With Cannonball...

Capitol Records
2012

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The Complete 1956-1960

Le Chant du Monde
2011

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Videos

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