It’s hard to believe that the first tracks here, from Wilson’s debut album, were recorded 60 years ago. She was 22 at the time, sounds confident and is clearly thoroughly at ease with her material. These songs, and those on the second album all have Billy May’s arrangements and accompaniment, but it is Wilson’s singing that is in the spotlight.
Inserted before the third album are six tracks that bring forward Wilson’s jazz credentials. They were released as being by the George Shearing Quintet featuring Nancy Wilson (she does not sing on the six songs not included here) and the backing is a fine setting for the singer, Shearing’s arrangements putting on display her emerging talent.
More overtly aimed at the jazz audience is the third album. Original notes from some of the albums are included and from Ron Grevatt’s for this session it appears that Wilson had sat in on a Cannonball Adderley club date in Columbus, Ohio, which is where she was working at the time. She would have been only around 20, but she and the saxophonist hit it off musically and clearly relish working together on this 1961 reunion. Wilson does not sing on Teaneck, I Can’t Get Started, Never Say Yes or Unit 7.
On the fourth album, the mood returns to the popular canon and offers an interesting opportunity to hear George Shearing’s arrangements for strings (he plays harpsichord on Miss Otis Regrets). During this period in her career, Wilson was fortunate to have come to the attention of Dave Cavanaugh, executive producer of Capitol Records New York division and the four albums were released originally on (chronologically) T1319, T1440, T1657 and T1767, while Shearing’s The Swingin’s Mutual was on T1524.
An attractive reminder of a fine singer who appealed then (and still appeals now) to many.
CD1: [Like In Love] (1) On The Street Where You Love; Night Mist; You Leave Me Breathless; The More I See You; I Wanna Be Loved; Almost Like Being In Love; People Will Say We’re In Love; Passion Flower, Sometimes I’m Happy; In Other Words; All Of You; If It’s The Last Thing I Do; (2) [Something Wonderful] Teach Me Tonight; This Time The Dream’s On Me; I’m Gonna Laugh You Out Of My Life; I Wish You Love; Guess Who I Saw Today; If Dreams Come True; What A Little Moonlight Can Do; The Great City; He’s My Guy; Something Happens To Me; Call It Stormy Monday; Something Wonderful Happens; (3) [The Swingin’s Mutual] On Green Dolphin Street; The Nearness Of You; Born To Be Blue; All Night Long; The Things We Did Last Summer; Let’s Live Again (71.23)
CD2: [ … And The Cannonball Adderley Quintet] (4) Save Your Love For Me; Teaneck; Never Will I Marry; I Can’t Get Started; The Old Country; One Man’s Dream; Happy Talk; Never Say Yes; The Masquerade Is Over; Unit 7; A Sleepin’ Bee; [Hello Young Lovers] (5) A Good Man Is Hard To Find; Hello Young Lovers; Sophisticated Lady; A Woman Loves A Man; Little Girl Blue; Nina Never Knew; You Don’t Know What Love Is; Put On A Happy Face; When Sunny Gets Blue; Listen, Little Girl; Miss Otis Regrets; Back In Your Own Backyard (75.30)
Wilson (v) with:
(1) orch. Billy May (arr, cond). LA, 5, 7, 8 December 1959.
(2) as (1). 10,11, 19 May 1960.
(3) George Shearing (p); Warren Chaisson (vib); Dick Garcia (g); Ralph Pena (b); Vernell Fournier (d); Armando Peraza (pc). NYC, 29 June, 5, 6 July 1960.
(4) Cannonball Adderley (as); Nat Adderley (c); Joe Zawinul (p); Sam Jones (b); Louis Hayes (d). NYC, 27, 29 June 1961.
(5) Shearing (string choir arr); Milt Raskin (orch, cond); Shelley Manne (d) and others. LA, 14-16 March 1962.
Avid Jazz AMSC 1349