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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
An excellent collaboration of Nancy Wilson's voice with Cannonball Adderley's alto sax from the early '60s. While this 1961 recording was the first time Wilson was with Adderley in the studio, it was not the first time they had worked together. After singing with Rusty Bryant's band, Wilson had worked with Adderley in Columbus, Ohio. (It was there that Adderley encouraged her to go to N.Y.C. to do some recording, eventually leading to this session.) Not entirely a vocal album, five of the 12 cuts are instrumentals. A highlight is the gentle cornet playing of Nat Adderley behind Wilson, especially on "Save Your Love for Me" and "The Old Country." Cannonball Adderley's swinging, boppish sax is heard to excellent effect throughout. Joe Zawinul's work behind Wilson on "The Masquerade Is Over" demonstrates that he is a talented, sensitive accompanist. On the instrumental side, "Teaneck" and "One Man's Dream" are especially good group blowing sessions. On the other end of the spectrum, Adderley's alto offers a lovely slow tempo treatment of the Vernon Duke-Ira Gershwin masterpiece "I Can't Get Started." To keep the listeners on their musical toes, the first couple of bars of "Save Your Love for Me" are quotes from "So What" from the Miles Davis Sextet's seminal Kind of Blue session. Given the play list and the outstanding artists performing it, why any serious jazz collection would be without this classic album is difficult to comprehend. © Dave Nathan /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 7, 2021 | Carry On Music

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After nearly five decades in Heart—the band she shares with her vocalist sister Ann—guitarist Nancy Wilson has pulled off a neat trick: a debut solo studio album that doesn't sound like Heart covers or castoffs. True, she doesn't have Ann's gale-force voice, but it's not needed on candlelight-warm, lovely songs like the title track "You and Me," which lets Nancy's charmingly sibilant "S" pronunciation shine, and the romantic "I'll Find You" (which, if anything, sounds more like a Sheryl Crow song than one from the Heart catalog). But there's no mistaking Nancy's molten guitar on a tenderhearted cover of Bruce Springsteen's 9/11 firefighter tribute "The Rising" or the paisley underground-esque "The Inbetween." The song that comes closest to a Heart number is the ballad "Walk Away"—sultry with high-drama strings—which bears a slight resemblance to "These Dreams," one of the only hits with lead vocals by Nancy herself. The one time you might wish Ann was along for the ride is on the shoulder-shaking, Meatloaf-esque "Party at the Angel Ballroom" ("it's a party in heaven so we can party like hell"). Backed up by Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan and rock-solid Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, Nancy sounds a bit overwhelmed. But she is right in range on a cover of the Cranberries' foolproof "Dreams" and offers a spitfire take on "Daughter" by fellow Seattle musicians Pearl Jam. A cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer" (with Sammy Hagar, not that you can necessarily find him in the mix; is that him hollering "lie-la-lie"?) is faithful but given a more jangling drum beat and almost zydeco feel. Original "The Dragon" finds Nancy cutting loose, both on the guitar and vocals; a tribute to Alice in Chains' singer Layne Staley, who died of an overdose in 2002 after a prolonged decline, the song slinks and stomps as Nancy warns: "Don't you go down, where the dragon waits." It all wraps up with an absolutely beautiful and bluesy-soulful acoustic cut, "4 Edward." Written for Eddie Van Halen, the legendary rock ’n’ roll guitarist who passed away after a stroke in 2020, it forgoes lyrics in favor of Nancy's deft plucking and strumming: her true legacy. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 13, 2019 | RevOla

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Blue Note Records

Originally released in December of 1963, Yesterday's Love Songs/Today's Blues was the eighth in a long series of albums Nancy Wilson was to make for Capitol Records over a period of 20 years. During that time, she became one of the label's most artistically and commercially successful artists. The album was also made during the time when major recording companies were turning out sessions featuring black female singers with a gospel and/or blues background, singing standards and pop hits backed by a large orchestra, usually with strings. Columbia Records had Aretha Franklin, Everest used Gloria Lynne, and Capitol, Nancy Wilson. Here, teamed with the Gerald Wilson Orchestra and his arrangements, Wilson wends her way through 17 standards and traditional pop songs with a good balance between ballads and up-tempo numbers. Wilson's aggregation is loaded with many of the day's top West Coast players. Trumpeters Al Porcino and Carmell Jones are especially prominent, with Jones soloing on "The Song Is You." Harold Land's tenor provides the backdrop for "Satin Doll." On the last four tracks, Wilson is accompanied by just a rhythm section featuring Wild Bill Davis on organ and Joe Pass on guitar. Wilson and Davis combine to do a swinging R&B-tinged "West Coast Blues" and "My Sweet Thing," the album's highlights. In between these two cuts is the cloying "Tell Me the Truth," originally issued on a 45 EP and aimed at the female teenaged market of the time. © Dave Nathan /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

The Great American Songbook has many top-drawer interpreters, but Nancy Wilson is rarely spoken of in the same breath as Ella Fitzgerald or Dinah Washington or Frank Sinatra or Mel Tormé. The reason lies less with her talents, which are sizeable, and more with her orientation, which fits the show tunes concept of putting the song across with precise diction as well as emotion instead of the jazz vocal tradition of personalizing a song. Those who know only Wilson's crossover work and think she intrudes in the field of vocal jazz should simply listen to her 1959 performance of "On the Street Where You Live," where she often varies notes and tempo but preserves the essential ebullience of the song intact -- an excellent musical performance combined with an excellent reading of a classic standard. That song is only one of the treasures present on the two-disc set The Great American Songbook, one in a loose series of three Capitol compilations to compile Wilson's late-'50s and early-'60s prime, the others focusing on blues ballads and lost love. There is a lot of music to wade through (more than twice as much as the other volumes in the series), but the compilers ably mix up the proceedings, balancing small-group performances that have a loose touch from all involved with large-band spectaculars featuring impeccable arrangements (often by masters of the form Billy May or Gerald Wilson). © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2004 | Blue Note Records

This fine album was sadly lost in the shuffle when it was released the same year as another Nancy Wilson album, The Swingin's Mutual!, her highly successful collaboration with the George Shearing Quintet. This is a shame, because Something Wonderful is one of Wilson's best albums, and her tastiest, with famed big-band arranger Billy May. Only 23 years old at the time, Wilson had a commanding blues- and soul-drenched jazz voice that was fully formed at the time of this recording, and unlike so many young singers, she was already committed to communicating lyrics rather than just showing off her vocal chops. This is beautifully illustrated in the narrative gem "Guess Who I Saw Today," which justly went on to become one of Wilson's signature tunes. For his part, May keeps the accent here on swinging jazz but avoids the heavy brass and wild percussion that he became famous for. Instead, he opts for a subtler sound. May even throws a couple of small-group jazz and blues numbers into the mix and allows some superb jazz musicians (including Ben Webster, the legendary tenor saxophonist) to shine in the solo spotlight. Something Wonderful remains one of Nancy Wilson's most jazz-oriented sessions, and it's a welcome addition to her catalog. © Nick Dedina /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1960 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

Capitol Records was the place to be a jazz-pop vocalist in the 1950s and early '60s, and with this winning debut, Nancy Wilson proved herself to be up to the challenge of recording alongside such labelmates as Frank Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole, and Peggy Lee. Only 22 years old on her first recording date, Wilson's Sarah Vaughan-meets-Dinah Washington vocal style was already firmly in place and is perfectly in sync with star arranger Billy May's typically expert big band jazz charts. Many of May's backings, particularly the ballads such as "Fly Me to the Moon," have a subtle Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn luster to them. Not only does Duke's star alto saxophonist Willie Smith contribute some choice solos on this date, but Wilson gets to sing Strayhorn's sublime "Passion Flower." While this solid release had the swank Capitol house sound down, it was actually Wilson's two small-group jazz recordings with George Shearing and Cannonball Adderley that would break her to the general public and help turn her into the label's biggest-selling act of the early '60s. As good as those small group sessions were, Wilson would thankfully continue working with the gifted Billy May and their next recording together, 1960's Something Wonderful, somehow managed to improve on this winning debut and remains one of her all-time best albums. © Nick Dedina /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | The Right Stuff

Wilson is a vexing artist to summarize with a best-of compilation, due both to her versatility and her prolific discography. This two-set CD concentrates on her pop- and R&B-influenced recordings for Capitol in the 1960s and '70s. While that means that her jazziest and most standard-inclined sides are relatively lightly represented (although not ignored), it does mean that this is the material most likely to be familiar to the general audience. In truth the soul influence is quite light; this is really pop material, not R&B, soul, or rock, even as it might show some traces of those genres (as well as jazz and cabaret). As a whole, this easy-listening soul music was light fare, but Wilson was probably better at it (and certainly more successful at it) than anyone else. The first disc, covering 1962-1970, is the better of the pair, with the big 1964 hit "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am" and a couple of nice non-LP singles in 1963's bluesy "Tell the Truth" and 1965's "Where Does That Leave Me." Her reading of Stevie Wonder's "Uptight" is actually respectable, and some of her better mid-'60s singles show the influence of New York uptown soul production. The second disc charts the decline of pop-soul as a whole, even if it does lead off with a couple of 1970 Gamble-Huff-affiliated tracks. Much of the rest marks Wilson as one of the mothers of adult contemporary music, which is not the highest badge of honor one can bear. Is this the anthology you should have if you only get one Wilson collection? If your tastes run to pop rather than jazz, it probably is, though it should be cautioned that it's uneven and does not reflect the full scope of her repertoire. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released June 18, 2007 | Capitol Records

The career of Nancy Wilson has been compiled many times and in many ways, but never like this. Focusing in-depth on her Capitol recordings during the 15 years of her prime, this three-disc set is a wonderful collection for those who appreciate Wilson's ability to combine Broadway power and finesse with jazz rhythm (and a certain degree of improvisation). While the complete record of her '60s and '70s work would require at least a dozen discs -- she recorded more than 30 original albums between 1960 and 1976 alone -- the compilers chose these 71 performances with care. They show her excelling in any format, whether small-group or big-band or strings; singing America's greatest show tunes or pop songs of the day; and thriving whether in the controlled confines of a studio or the freewheeling atmosphere of the Cocoanut Grove. (The latter was the place where her 1964 appearances earned her a nationwide profile, and several performances from her accompanying 1965 album finally appear on CD here.) She also worked with superior musicians, including George Shearing, Cannonball Adderley, Billy May, Oliver Nelson, and Gerald Wilson, among others. While some of Wilson's best peers (Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Nina Simone) could have been expected to deliver as much excellent material during relatively short periods of their careers, The Very Best of Nancy Wilson: The Capitol Recordings 1960-1976 should stand as a revelation to fans of the pop and soul end of vocal jazz. © John Bush /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1964 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1968 | Capitol Records

Most of Nancy Wilson's late '60s releases contained four or five good tunes and the rest would be filler from the day's batch of B-grade pop material. Her 1967 date Welcome to My Love, though, is an exception. It offers a consistent selection of high-quality standards and strong contemporary material impressively set off by Oliver Nelson's soulfully urbane arrangements. On the subdued end there are straightahead ballads like "May I Come In" and "It Never Entered My Mind" as well as more soul-tinged numbers such as "Welcome to My Love" and "Let's Make the Most of a Beautiful Thing." Wilson's smoky, whispered voice imparts just the right amount of tender drama here while Nelson's dark and restrained string charts keep things from getting syrupy. Balancing out the set are a series of bluesy big band numbers including "In the Heat of the Night," "I'm Always Drunk in SF" and an amazing version of "Ode to Billy Joe." This classic Bobbie Gentry tune gets a funked up, backwoods treatment à la Etta James with Wilson in full swagger. Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis effectively echoes the intensity with his back in the mix, burning tenor solo while drummer Shelly Manne and bassist Buster Williams anchor the proceedings with driving intensity. The set is rounded out by fine renditions of "For Once in Life" and the classic Ray Charles hit "You Don't Know Me." On Welcome to My Love, Wilson successfully straddled the jazz/soul divide and in the process produced one of her best albums of the 60's. © Stephen Cook /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

A song of lost love shouldn't be confused with a torch song. Carrying a torch for someone is a lonely occupation, and torch singers inevitably address only a wall, or a bartender, or perhaps their intended love in absentia. Lost love is a broader lament and can be directed inwardly or outwardly; it can remain alone in its grief or grow accusatory and confrontational. Guess Who I Saw Today: Nancy Wilson Sings Songs of Lost Love is one in a loose series of three Capitol compilations to compile Wilson's late-'50s and early-'60s prime, the others focusing on blues balladry and the Great American Songbook. Many of Wilson's greatest performances fit this disc's concept, suiting her talents at performing songs while adding dramatic turns more associated with speaking than singing. The title track (and opener), "Guess Who I Saw Today," is the best, one of her signature songs. Elsewhere she neatly removes the melodrama from "The Days of Wine and Roses" (no small feat) and injects just the right amount of sober dismissal into "You Can Have Him." © John Bush /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 31, 1994 | Columbia

Wilson has been able to adjust and retain her appeal while expanding her musical repertoire to include contemporary numbers and experiments with various collaborators and situations. On this album, she's accompanied by an orchestra and does such classic tunes as "Day Dream," plus current numbers. Andre Fischer's production lets Wilson's still enchanting, powerful voice dominate the orchestrations. There are occasional tasty instrumental contributions from selected guest stars, but for the most part it's Wilson's warm, inviting leads that make this CD so delightful. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Blue Note Records

On Today, Tomorrow, Forever, Nancy Wilson lights up a set of the usual mid-'60s pop standards: "One Note Samba," "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," "Wives and Lovers," "Our Day Will Come," and "On Broadway," among others. They're all good choices for her breathy voice and occasional improvisations, especially "One Note Samba" and "Wives and Lovers." On them, Wilson plays with the notes and rhythm, making a pair of lighthearted songs even more playful and irresistible than they had been previously. The arrangements (by her husband, Kenny Dennis) are less reliable, however. Most are sympathetic and unobtrusive (as they should be), but a few are reliant on goofy organ leads that don't quite mesh with Wilson's voice -- and were probably inserted merely for commercial reasons. On the songs where it's possible to focus just on Wilson's voice, she's simply enchanting. Considering the dozens of traditional jazz-based singers unfamiliar with their place in the middle of the turbulent '60s, Today, Tomorrow, Forever is an accomplished album that sounds almost effortless. [A 1999 two-fer reissue by Capitol/EMI paired Today, Tomorrow, Forever with Wilson's 1966 LP A Touch of Today.] © John Bush /TiVo
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Humour/Spoken Word - Released January 1, 2006 | Capitol Records

Like one of her biggest selling albums, Yesterday's Love Songs/Tomorrow's Blues, Hollywood My Way is filled with strong material, fine arrangements, and more than enough evidence of Nancy Wilson's considerable and elegant vocal talents. One thing Hollywood My Way doesn't have, though, is a big hit like Yesterday's Love Songs' "Guess Who I Saw Today," and that goes a long way in explaining Capitol's reticence about releasing it. Regardless, this collection of movie songs ranging from 1931's "When Did You Leave Heaven" to 1962's "Days of Wine and Roses" (with Jimmy Jones' stellar arrangements) is one of Wilson's best. As usual, she deftly works through a variety of tempi with aplomb. "My Shining Hours"' breakneck speed and arrangement are kept in check by her behind-the-beat, elongated phrasing, while the ballad tempo in "Days of Wine of Roses" is ignited with an assured and dramatic vocal buildup. Wilson's supple voice seems especially fit for the bossa nova treatment of "Moonriver" -- she easily shifts from a whisper to full-throated dynamics over the lilting yet steady beat. Equally impressive is her urbane blues delivery on "When Did You Leave Heaven." © Stephen Cook /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1966 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

Tender Loving Care teams Nancy Wilson with arranger Billy May for a collection of romantic ballads and torch songs that capture the singer at her most sensuous. May's handling of songs like "Like Someone in Love" and "Try a Little Tenderness" boast an uncommon sensitivity, deftly avoiding syrup and sentimentality in a far-ranging series of contexts that extend from lushly orchestral to starkly jazzy. And Wilson is at her best here, taking full command of the familiar songs and re-animating them with vocals that are bold, sophisticated, and daringly adult. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released June 15, 2013 | Jazz Musts

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Jazz - Released February 13, 1990 | Columbia

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | Blue Note Records

Nancy Wilson was one of the few jazz-based pop singers of the 1960s who was able to navigate that decade's rock & roll-crazed waters and stay on top of the single and album charts. While her natural physical beauty certainly didn't hurt her career, it was probably her honest feel for soul and the blues, as well as jazz, that had her riding high during a time when so many of her peers were being dropped by the major labels or moving to Europe. Lush Life follows Wilson's winning formula of combining jazz and adult pop, but while individual tracks stand out, a heavy Barbra Streisand influence hurts the disc overall. Like Babs, Wilson possesses pipes powerful enough to blow the roof off of a barn (as she does on "Free Again" and "Over the Weekend"), but her real gifts come out on the lightly swinging "River Shallow" and a slowly building ballad reading of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" that puts a fresh spin on the over-exposed 1960s staple. Expert West Coast jazz musicians such as Shelly Manne and Ted Nash contribute to the session, but Billy May and Oliver Nelson's charts are often too string-heavy. While the album is cohesive, it's a shame that you can't tell the difference between the work of two normally singular and unique arrangers. Still, both men did build solid foundations for Nancy Wilson, and Billy May uses the title track as a means to tip his hat to Billy Strayhorn, the song's composer, with a smart mix of big band swagger, intimate small-group jazz, and moody orchestral flourishes straight out of an old film noir. While Lush Life is a pleasing effort that will be enjoyed by Nancy Wilson fans, Welcome to My Love, her 1968 collaboration with Oliver Nelson alone, keeps the strings while wisely ditching the Streisand feel. © Nick Dedina /TiVo
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Soul - Released January 1, 1966 | Virgin Music UK