Jazz Woman Reel to Real Sessions
I've spent much of my recording career immersed in the reimagining of jazz standards after spending my early years finding my way there. I worked in many genres of music, from rock to rhythm & blues and funk, before finally finding my calling in jazz. My early composing years drew largely from those experiences, but oddly, the closer I got to jazz, the further I got from ever completing the work. It sat untouched for many years. Happily, there's been a positive aspect of the pandemic for me, as it has afforded me the opportunity to reflect on my compositions, and to contemplate their resurrection. I was concerned about whether the lyrical content, written in a different era, could still be relevant and enjoyable to the listener. I gave it some thought and the answer was a resounding yes. I began organizing about thirty originals and chose two songs to develop and bring forward. I began recording them at home with my computer programs, rearranged them, then brought the project to John DiMartino. We recorded them in New Jersey at Teaneck Sound. August 18, 2021.
Vocals and mixing, SubCat Studios, Syracuse, NY
Nancy Kelly. composer, arrangements
John DiMartino. piano, synth and arrangements
Ed Howard. bass
Carmen Intorre Jr. drums and percussion
Harry Allen. tenor
Freddie Hendrix. trumpet
Wesley Amorim. guitar
Jimmy Johns. vibes
Hrayr Attarian of All About Jazz reviews Nancy Kelly, Jazz Woman: The Reel to Real Sessions, Attarian says; "The bluesy title track features soulful refrains and a swaggering cadence. Kelly's interpretation of the witty lyrics are, of course, intimate and effortless while the horns often underscore her emotive delivery. Trumpeter Freddie Hendrix takes a suave and muted solo which mirrors Kelly's singing in its elegance.
Meanwhile the effervescent "Move Over" is a lush, Latinesque, ballad which opens with tenor saxophonist Harry Allen's eloquent, warm lines. Over buoyant rhythmic vamps, which vibraphonist Jimmy Johns enhances with his resonant mallets, Kelly launches into a sensual rendition of her own composition. Her voice undulates around the words, caressing them with gentle passion. Allen takes center stage with his signature bravado and sophisticated style.
Kelly penned these pieces decades ago yet they sound as fresh and relevant as any contemporary music. This is a testament to her superb talent and musicianship. The unique combination of youthful enthusiasm and its seasoned interpretation make for an intriguing and captivating listening experience.
"The beauty of these two songs, Jazz Woman and Move Over, released as singles, lies in their effortless delivery and the authenticity of their author, Nancy Kelly, a singer whose artistry assures them a place in the vocal pantheon of timeless songs. This truly beautiful new two-track single opens on the gently spirited, finger-snapping hipsway of the title track Jazz Woman and culminates with the luxuriant, low slung flourishes found within Move Over Kelly, until now best known for her compelling command of the great standards with panache and style, can now add songwriter to her impressive curriculum vitae." Anne Carlini