Nancy King

The Dream Lands, Vol. 2: The CBC Sessions

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Any album by the inestimable Nancy King is a major event. This is the second volume of a session King and piano partner Steve Christofferson made for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations' Jazz Beat series over a four-year period. There's a lilt, a joy, and a purity to King's voice that is unmatched among jazz vocalists. Each note is a sparkle of sunshine, a shimmering drop of dew that builds up into an emotional sensation that makes anything King sings quite special. She is endowed with considerable range, allowing her to employ a full set of expressive facilities to make her singing very personal, from soft crescendos, to not-quite shouts, to flowing legato. Listen as she uses these techniques to their fullest during her rendition of "Midnight Sun" where she also can slow scat, folding it within the framework of the song. The phrasing and spacing here is simply amazing, as is her flowing legato. Her words seem to follow the notes, which automatically fall into the right places. Christofferson is the perfect foil for King. He is completely attuned to King's phrasing and has sufficient control over the motion of the music to allow King plenty of space for her personal approach to the play list. His use of the melodica (the wind piano) on "St. James Infirmary" helps King to create the mournful, melancholy climate she has chosen for this classic. As icing on a delicious cake is an unforgettable King a cappella opening on "Left Alone." This CD, by a legitimate doyen of song, is outstanding and highly recommended.

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