Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Kim Nazarian: Some Morning

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
Kim Nazarian is one of a kind. Sure, there are other singers with lovely voices, great ears and impeccable time, but not many as warm and open on stage; there are even fewer who can phrase a lyric the way she does, so that you believe every word. A founding member of the New York Voices, Nazarian supplies the sweet soprano at the top of their peerless blend, as well as most of the bubbly, joyful energy that makes the group so delightful to watch. The NYV has been on the road for decades, performing at the world's greatest venues with many of its best musicians. But despite their lunatic schedule, three Voices have managed to release at least one solo CD, while Some Morning is Nazarian's first. It took six years to record, but it was well worth the wait.

As fans expect and newcomers soon discover, this is not your run-of-the-mill CD. This is Nazarian's deep musicality on full display, with her unusual choices of material, style, tempo and mood enhanced by her wonderful arrangements and (primarily) those of her brilliant husband/trombonist/producer/composer/engineer, Jay Ashby. Given today's world of cookie-cutter music, such versatility and individuality are courageous, and reflect Nazarian's determination to be completely true to herself. This also means no electronic fixes, enhancements or autotunes: any perfection heard in her singing is natural and real.

Nothing else is predictable or commonplace, either. This is obvious from the opener, a unique "double-hero" medley associated with Ella Fitzgerald and J.J. Johnson. This introduces Nazarian's expertise for swinging and scatting with a big band, and features a strong Ashby solo (apparently, there is no other kind). Then comes "Tell Him I Said Hello," which a young Betty Carter performed as a surprisingly boring ballad (at least, as seen on YouTube). Here, it lifts and blossoms into a lush bossa, with a heartbreaking, tender vocal from Nazarian, and a shimmering solo from Paquito D'Rivera.

Arguably, the peak performance is "Still Life," a haunting Ashby melody with lyrics by Nazarian that create their own version of "I'll Be Seeing You." Anyone who's ever grieved a loved one will find new hope in this track. The simple piano backing is exquisite, and Nazarian has never sounded more intimate and loving as the song embraces everyone who's gone, as well as everyone left behind. It's nothing less than extraordinary.

This deeply emotional moment is followed by the sunny title track, a little-known gem from Ivan Lins, the beloved Brazilian composer. This features tropical percussion from Ashby, a soothing cushion of background vocals, and some silvery light from master vibeist Gary Burton. Also notable is "All in My Heart," a lovely original that pianist Mark Shilansky saved to debut here, so that Nazarian could do it justice. And boy, does she.

There are familiar songs as well, but they've been transformed by altered time signatures and/or harmonies. For example, most singers render "What'll I Do?" as a sticky-sweet waltz, but here, Nazarian's longing and some ominous chords highlight the real loss in the lyric. According to the notes, this is intended to be an anti-war plea, but it's subtle: you have to listen for Jamey Haddad's increasingly martial drumming at the end.

Similarly, by casting Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic" in 6, with surprising textures of kalimba and tabla, this old tune gets a fresh coat of interest. And Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate" showstopper, "So in Love," gains surprising urgency when played in 7, which inspires Nazarian to be increasingly intense, ethnic, and sexy. Meanwhile, the imaginative addition of Caitlin Merhtens's harp and Marty Ashby's guitar detours the tune even further from its usual route.

Two novelty tracks are included: a gentle comic duet between Nazarian and John Pizzarelli on "Gotta Be This or That," a hit for Benny Goodman, and a charming family collaboration on "Que Sera, Sera." The album ends as it began, with a big band track by Ashby that's all snap, crackle and pop. A good way to characterize Some Morning is to borrow another famous title: "Oh, what a beautiful morning!" Another is to simply say, "Brava," and put the CD on repeat play. For weeks.

Track Listing: Robbin's Nest/Boneology; Tell Him I Said Hello; Gotta Be This or That; All in My Heart; What'll I Do; Still Life; Some Morning; So in Love; If it's Magic; Que Sera, Sera; Road to Kursk.

Personnel: Kim Nazarian, Jay Ashby, Ian Ashby, Peter Eldridge, John Pizzarelli, Barbara Burkle, Alysia Tromblay: vocals; Jay Ashby: trombone; Paquito d'Rivera, Anna Nelson, Jesse McCandless: clarinet; Gary Burton: vibes; Marty Ashby, Jiro Yoshida: guitar; Sean Jones, Steve Hawk: trumpet; Roger Humphries, Jamey Haddad: drums; Jay Ashby: percussion; Mark Soskin, Mark Shilansky, Alon Yavnai: piano; Dwayne Dolphin, Leo Traversa: bass; Greg Nazarian, Mark Tomaro; sax; Alexa Still: flute; Caitlin Merhtens: harp;

Title: Some Morning | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced


comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Some Morning

Some Morning

Self Produced

Some Morning

Some Morning

Self Produced


Related Articles

Read Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review
Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard
by Doug Collette
Published: December 13, 2018
Read The Forest from Above CD/LP/Track Review
The Forest from Above
by John Eyles
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Imaginary Band CD/LP/Track Review
Imaginary Band
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Night CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 13, 2018
Read An Ayler Xmas Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
An Ayler Xmas Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2018
Read I Always Knew CD/LP/Track Review
I Always Knew
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 12, 2018
Read "1538" CD/LP/Track Review 1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Ninety-Nine Years" CD/LP/Track Review Ninety-Nine Years
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 13, 2018
Read "Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The...
by Doug Collette
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "Choices and Melodies" CD/LP/Track Review Choices and Melodies
by John Eyles
Published: May 28, 2018
Read "Legrand Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Legrand Jazz
by Patrick Burnette
Published: August 7, 2018
by Kevin Press
Published: June 16, 2018