Nancy Harms

In the Indigo

Pamela Chiarappa

Defining the term “Jazz Singing” is as difficult today as it ever was. Perhaps even more so. Today’s jazz vocalists often come off as self-consciously pompous, displaying within their attempts to be seductive, merely an over-educated, over-calculated re-hash of tired ideas.

…Yet, this lady, Nancy Harms, though a true child of her time, creates a truly new sound which combines a feline charm with the fragile humanity of a gentle, unpretentious soul.

Looking like a sophisticated Russian doll – with an image containing just a touch of the blase' – The regal-looking Nancy Harms hides something you do not expect.

The velvety voice to be heard on her first album "In the Indigo" shows no glimpse of that blase woman, nor of the regal princess, but instead, introduces us to a girl who, like us, experiences life’s good and bad days, but who will fly you exhilaratingly into the ‘indigo skies’ as her album promises.

Starting with the mournful yet caressing ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, which is best listened to after an exhausting workday, Nancy warms our hearts with some enjoyable swinging classics such as ‘I wished on the moon’ and ‘On a clear day’. Irving Berlin’s eternal anthem ‘Blue skies’ begins with the unexpected fluttering bass of Graydon Peterson, followed by a tango-like rhythm and the subtle explosion of Jay Epstein’s smart drums and Tanner Taylor’s flavoursome piano.

Nancy then takes us to the where she enjoys spending time the most - her place of personal affirmation: ‘In the Indigo’. With its ethereally cheerful sound, this is the first of the CD’s two originals written by Nancy, this one co-authored by Arne Fogel and producer Robert Bell. The second original song, ‘ Surprised by the morning’, is co-authored by New York bassist Michael O’Brien. It follows Nancy’s beautiful version of John Mayer's ‘Great indoors’, which reveals its hidden dimension through Nancy’s delicate, wistful voice.

Her ballads are as intense as a last kiss. From the tearful and detached ‘Cry me a river’ to the proudly heart-shattering ‘I’m pulling through’, they complete Nancy’s jazz hues, until the hushed ‘Reach for Tomorrow’ gently lulls the child-like ego to sleep. As we reach the end of this musical journey, we can truly say that Nancy has given us this is more than enough to restore our faith in the future of jazz singing in our times.

Pamela Chiarappa

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Pamela Chiarappa