Nancy Wilson

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Genre: Jazz

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Band Bio: The year 2001 marks a real milestone for NANCY WILSON. She has been in the business for 49 years. Beginning with her then local (Columbus, OH) television station and her program SKYLINE MELODIES.

She has participated in just about every facet of the entertainment industry, from recording, to acting, to commercials, to hosting a national syndicated Radio Program for NPR/Jazz Profiles, to being spokesperson for several humanitarian endeavors. Her preferences are still the intimate club dates, concerts with more of a theatre environment, her radio show and acting (for which she is a born natural).

Her last two releases NANCY WILSON GREATEST HITS for Legacy/Columbia CK65542, features songs taken from the recordings recorded for Columbia and a couple she recorded for Capitol. This was released late 1999.

ANTHOLOGY for Capitol Records 72435-24427-2-0, (2 disc set) released in 2000 is a compilation of the soulful pop and r&b singles with some classic album tracks and rare non-album 45's, many titles appearing on compact disc for the first time.

A FIRST FOR NANCY WILSON. The latter part of 2000 Nancy recorded a Christmas album for the Manchester Craftsman's Guild. This is the first time she has ever recorded an all Christmas album. In her early days at Capitol she recorded several tracks that Capitol released in various compilations with other Capitol singers.

"This album was so much fun, and I sat in musical splendor listening to my own trio (Llew Matthews, Roy McCurdy and John B. Williams), The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Star Band under the urging of Jon Faddis; The New York Voices; and featuring Rene Rosnes, Herbie Mann, Monty Alexander, James Moody, Jimmy Heath and the list goes on. What joy"! The album is to be released 2001 Holiday Season, and proceeds from the album go to the multi-faceted center for the continued good work it does with the Pittsburgh, PA community. The Center's help with Musicians reaches from coast to coast and internationally.

MUSINGS WITH NANCY I always knew I wanted to sing, but it took me longer to decide if I wanted to do it professionally. When seeking instructions at age 12, I was told it's too early, your voice will change. By age 22 it was still the same.

As most know, my career began in my hometown of Chillicothe, Ohio where I really determined that music would play a major role in my life. My singing in the Church Choir both in Chillicothe and Columbus gave me my first audience. But listening to the music that my Dad played of the legendary Billy Eckstein, Nat King Cole, Louis Jordan, LaVern Baker, Dinah Washington and Jimmy Scott really nurtured my desire.

During High School and College I earned money singing, but I also realized that this was not going to be easy, especially dealing from a woman's standpoint of view. So much to the disappointment of family, I left College to join Rusty Bryant's Carolyn Club Band. It was with Rusty that I made my very first recording for Dot Records.

Knowing that you need a good team to work with, I took my time to try and locate that great manager, that good record company and learn what you can from the good ones.

The catalyst for my teaming with both label and manager was Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. He was playing a gig in Columbus and I sat in with him. His manager was John Levy, who in short order secured a contract with Capitol, whose late 50's roster included the likes of Nat "King" Cole, Frank Sinatra, Ella Mae Morris and one of the founders himself, Johnny Mercer.

At 22, I recorded my first album "LIKE IN LOVE" 1959. This was the first of more than 30 albums I would record for Capitol. And I think those first albums SOMETHING WONDERFUL, THE SWINGIN'S MUTUAL, and NANCY WILSON/CANNONBALL ADDERLEY were the reasons for me being categorized as a Jazz Singer."

"GUESS WHO I SAW TODAY," was in fact the fourth 45 she recorded for Capitol, which made no impression as a single in 1961, but once included in her 1965 album "THE NANCY WILSON" recorded live at Los Angeles' famed niterie The Cocoanut Grove became a permanently-requested item from audiences from then on. "I never leave the stage without singing this song."

1962 found NANCY moving out of the strict jazz categorization and focusing more on pop standards. 1962's "HELLO YOUNG LOVERS" and two 1963 concept albums "BROADWAY-MY-WAY" and "HOLLYWOOD-MY-WAY" contained tunes like "AS LONG AS HE NEEDS ME," "GETTING TO KNOW YOU," "DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES" and "MOON RIVER," built around, respectively, show tunes and movie themes. Although long associated with "Little" Jimmy Scott, who Nancy has often referred to as a primary vocal influence, the song "WHEN DID YOU LEAVE HEAVEN" was from a 1931 movie, hence its including on the "HOLLYWOOD" album; like "GUESS WHO I SAW TODAY," it became an integral part of Nancy's live performances.

In 1964, NANCY recorded an album with (unrelated) trumpeter and arranger extraordinaire Gerald Wilson that would in retrospect is her most successful chart LP. She had worked with Gerald on earlier sessions at Capitol ? in fact, on sessions for her first few non-charting singles cutting songs like "MY FOLLISH HEART," "SEVENTH SON" and "(A) VERDICT." Released in early 1964, "YESTERDAY'S LOVE SONGS/TODAY'S BLUES" eclipsed previous albums in terms of sales, reaching the lofty number 4 position on the national pop charts. That was no mean feat, given it did not possess a hit single and thus any airplay.

It is interesting to follow the twist and turns her musical mastery would produce. To get into this in-depth would really be very lengthy, so please read David Nathan's liner notes for "ANTHOLOGY."

Ending the Capitol years, we note that in the 60's outside of the Beatles, NANCY was Capitol's chief moneymaker during the decade and it was hardly surprising given her output.

The Columbia years (1982 ? 1999) produced 14 albums and 5 others where she is featured on other Columbia artist's recordings. (The Crusaders, Grover Washington, Jr., John Williams & The Boston Pops, an Edwin Hawkins' production and the Jazz Sketches on Sondheim "COLOR & LIGHT."

The approach was much more contemporary at Columbia. Using keyboards, a host of writers and probably the most memorable of them all a tribute to the man who originally signed her to Capitol, Johnny Mercer.

"WITH MY LOVER BESIDE ME" is lyrics written by Mercer and music written by Barry Manilow. The lyrics were found after Mercer had passed away by his wife, who gave them to Barry. And that pairing of Wilson and Manilow was a stroke of genius by one of Columbia's top executives Don Ienner.

"WHEN OCTOBER GOES" one of the tracks from the Manilow/Wilson pairing is sung and requested quite often by her fans and a favorite of Nancy's.

"LADY WITH A SONG" another of the Columbia releases NANCY dedicates to the women she most admires from the Golden Era of song, ELLA, DINAH, BILLY, CARMEN and SARAH.

"THE TWO OF US" an album of one of her old and dear friends Ramsey Lewis produced one of the few duets she has preformed on recordings with Rev. Daryl Coley. "FORBIDDEN LOVER" features a duet with singer extraordinaire Carl Anderson. And the final pairing can be found on "IF I HAD MY WAY" with James Ingram. "All of these singers hold a very special place in my heart."

"Looking towards the future, regardless to how long or short the musical career will be, John Levy and I are planning and thinking through what will be our next project. What I can say is that it will be material very personal and reflect the gifts that have been given to us."

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