Nancy Kelly

Born to Swing

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Nancy Kelly has paid her dues over her career and produced her best CD as a result of her hard work. She benefits considerably from the presence of tenor saxophonist Houston Person on this studio date, as he provides the perfect foil for her sassy vocals. Her regular rhythm section -- consisting of pianist Dino Losito, bassist Neil Minor, and drummer Mark Taylor -- also provides strong support. Seven of the dozen tracks she chose are standards from the 1930s through the 1950s, including a spirited take of "I've Got the World on a String," a midtempo bossa nova setting of "Like Someone in Love" (with Losito switching to electric piano), and a driving "Falling in Love with Love," the latter two with Person sitting out. The tenor saxophonist steals the show a bit in a brisk arrangement of Earl Bostic's jump blues "Let Me Off Uptown." Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We" and Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind," two pop songs from a later era, also fare well as Kelly captures the possibilities within each of them.

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