Turned to Blue
For nearly half a century, Nancy Wilson has been churning out first-rate albums, covering all genres and displaying elegant taste in material, soloists and arrangers. On her latest album, she continues to cover all the bases, often circling them as she hits a number of homers. Among them are four new songs that deserve to be covered: the title tune, with can’t-miss lyrics from a poem by former Poet Laureate Maya Angelou; a new “September Song” called “These Golden Years,” enhanced by tenorist Tom Scott and a fine obligato by bass clarinetist Mike Tomaro; the clever “I Don’t Ever Remember Growing Up” by Artie Butler; and a witty waltz about love unraveling (“slip one stitch, and purl two”), “Knitting Class,” featuring tenorist Jimmy Heath.
Other highlights include a reinterpretation of the Tony Bennett hit, “This Is All I Ask.” On that tune, Wilson follows a pensive rubato intro with a heartfelt chorus over a smooth bossa, followed by a great tenor solo from Bob Mintzer. Note how bassist Rufus Reid lifts Nancy and the 16 sidemen. Ms. Wilson is swinging elegance personified.