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

On A Lady With A Song, Amber Weekes pays homage to one of her inspirations, Nancy Wilson, while welcoming such all-stars as guitarists Russell Malone and Paul Jackson Jr., tenor-saxophonists Gerald Albright and Rickey Woodard, and Justo Almario on flute. Arranged and produced by Mark Cargill who also plays violin, the wide-ranging program features Amber Weekes’ beautiful voice and personal phrasing at her most expressive.
Amber Weekes
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 was an influential household name during her final 50 years.

In her homage to Nancy Wilson, Amber Weekes and her producer, arranger, and conductor Mark Cargill chose songs from Wilson’s huge repertoire that convey a wide variety of emotions and styles. With a top-notch background group that on various songs includes pianists Tony Campodonico and Andy Langham, bassists Jeff Littleton and John B. Williams, and drummers Fritz Wise and Oscar Seaton, several horns and (on “Suppertime”) a gospel choir, plus such featured guests as guitarists Russell Malone and Paul Jackson Jr, and tenor-saxophonists Gerald Alright and Rickey Woodard, the singer creates some of her most inspiring performances.

An up-tempo “My Gentleman Friend” begins the program in a joyful mood. The new version of the classic “Save Your Love For Me” has a light bossa rhythm and singing by Amber that is both swinging and soulful. Lesser known are “A Lady With A Song” (recorded by Wilson in 1989) and the 1965 song “Ten Good Years” during which Amber sings the rapid lyrics with confidence.

Irving Berlin’s “Suppertime” which deals with a lynching, is often sanitized in other versions but Amber added a spoken word section during which she frankly explains the horrible situation. Among the other highlights are “What A Little Moonlight Can Do” which the singer takes a bit slower than is typical, her excellent ballad singing on “Midnight Sun,” Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Wave” which has Cargill contributing a violin solo, Nancy Wilson’s trademark song “Guess Who I Saw Today” which Amber manages to make her own, and the good-humored “I’m Always Drunk In San Francisco.” A Lady With A Song concludes with a happy and determined “The Best Is Yet To Come,” Amber’s heartfelt ballad singing on “You’re Gonna Hear From Me,” and the spirited jazz waltz “Wasn’t It Wonderful.”

The latter piece was one of the songs that Amber Weekes sang for her parents with her sister when she a child. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Amber had parents who were both singers. She was exposed early on to all types of music, from Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles to the Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Motown, classical music, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Billie Holiday. A professional singer as a teenager, she has since taken lessons from Sue Raney for many years. Amber has worked in virtually every Southern California club in addition to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, New York’s New Rochelle Jazz Festival and the Hampstead Jazz Club in London. Her earlier recordings include ‘Round Midnight—Reimagined, Pure Imagination, and The Gathering.

With the release of A Lady With A Song, which features Amber Weekes at her best, one of today’s greats pays homage to a legend.

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Track Listing

Gentleman Friend; Save Your Love For Me; A Lady With a Song; Ten Good Years; What a Little Moonlight Can Do; Midnight Sun; Suppertime; Wave; Guess Who I Saw Today; I’m Always Drunk in San Francisco; The Best is Yet To Come; You’re Gonna Hear From Me; Wasn’t It Wonderful

Personnel

Paul Jackson Jr
saxophone, tenor
Gerald Albright
saxophone, alto
Rickey Woodard
saxophone, tenor
Justo Almario
saxophone
Ray Monteiro
trumpet
Mike Cordone
trumpet
Rashawn Ross
trumpet
Jacob Scesney
saxophone, baritone

Album information

Title: A Lady With a Song - Amber Weekes Celebrates Nancy Wilson | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Amber Inn Records


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