194

Nanette Natal: Stairway to the Stars

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
That Nanette Natal is a genuine jazz singer in the grandest tradition of Ella, Sassy, and Dinah Washington (whose approach she recalls a bit), is clear from the first moments of her entrance on Stairway to the Stars. Back only by drums, she attacks "Fascinating Rhythm" with utter confidence and full-throated passion, tempered by a supremely confident playfulness. Her extended scat section here recalls Ella at her most daring, and drummer Todd Turkisher, all alone, provides an exciting, original, and consistently interesting backdrop. The arrangements on this disc are by Natal herself, and she shows imagination and depth of musical acuity throughout in her deployments of Turkisher, pianist Mark Soskin, alto saxophonist Ed Palermo, and bassist Kevin McCarthy.

This disc was recorded live at the legendary Birdland on July 11, 1990, and is a terrific example of a tight working band fronted by a simpatico vocalist. The whole band is first heard on a driving take of "When Your Lover Has Gone," including some heavy lyrical chording by Soskin and sensitive fills from Palermo. Natal keens and soars here with utmost commitment, saving a playful side for a dash through "Nice Work If You Can Get It." On this number she makes exceptionally effective use of her lower range, which is almost Vaughnian in proportions.

But the best is yet to come. The whole group stretches out on the delicate "Stairway to the Stars," the up-tempo "I Won't Dance," and an intense take of "You Go to My Head." These extended tracks give Natal and each of the others numerous chances to shine; "Crazy He Calls Me" is briefer but no less impressive. Palermo, Soskin, and Turkisher are superb, and Nanette Natal is beyond even that - after all, she is Nanette Natal.


Title: Stairway to the Stars | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Benyo Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Heartscape" CD/LP/Track Review Heartscape
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: October 8, 2017
Read "Genesis, Mystery And Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis, Mystery And Magic
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "B'shnorkestra: Global Concertos" CD/LP/Track Review B'shnorkestra: Global Concertos
by Paul Rauch
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Meeting My Shadow" CD/LP/Track Review Meeting My Shadow
by James Nadal
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Morphogenesis" CD/LP/Track Review Morphogenesis
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Signal 9" CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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