Nancy King

Live at Jazz Standard

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AllMusic Review by

It's no wonder that Fred Hersch had the confidence to tape his initial meeting with Nancy King. King is one of the best jazz vocalists of her generation, though she is unjustly not as widely recognized as a number of major-label artists who don't begin to compare with her. King and Hersch put together a wide-ranging program at the Jazz Standard, frequently extending their interpretations well beyond the expectations for a vocal/piano duo. Hersch, who has long since proved his abilities as a solo accompanist for singers (especially Janis Siegel), is never less than brilliant throughout the evening, though the singer is equally impressive, an adventurous spirit who is unafraid of taking chances. King's expressive voice is full of humor in the swinging take of "Ain't Misbehavin'," while she scats up a storm in Antonio Carlos Jobim's neglected gem "If You Never Come to Me." She's equally inspired as she revives once popular standards that have fallen out of favor like "There's a Small Hotel" and "Everything Happens to Me." But the finale clearly steals the show as King devours "Four" whole, throwing caution to the wind as she playfully adds her own twists to Jon Hendricks' vocalese setting of Miles Davis' famous tune. This beautifully recorded set is a tribute to the musicianship of both artists, as well as the foresight of Fred Hersch to request that the soundboard operator record it without notifying Nancy King in advance.

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