Nancy Wilson

Turned to Blue

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On Nancy Wilson's previous album, 2004's R.S.V.P., the legendary vocalist teamed up with a given instrumentalist on each track. She must have liked the formula, because she's done it again on Turned to Blue. Here the oft-honored jazz singer leaves room in each number -- save for the title track, a Maya Angelou poem set to music and arranged by Jay Ashby -- for a different soloist, bringing in such heavyweights as Hubert Laws on flute, saxists Jimmy Heath, Andy Snitzer, Bob Mintzer (who appears to be summoning Stan Getz on the opening number, Gordon Jenkins' "This Is All I Ask"), James Moody and Tom Scott, pianist Dr. Billy Taylor, and steel pans player Andy Narrell, among others. Working with configurations ranging from classic big band (Duke Ellington's "Take Love Easy") to trio-plus-guest-soloist ("Knitting Class"), Wilson applies her seasoned but still flexible pipes to material both old and new, straddling the fence between adult contemporary/pop and the more demanding jazz of her earlier career. Heavy on the ballads, and confined nearly exclusively to love songs, Turned to Blue finds Nancy Wilson right where she ought to be nearly half a century into her recording career.

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