This two-disc set is culled from 19 albums recorded between 1959 and 1969, and gathers Nancy Wilson's greatest performances with arrangements by Gerald Wilson, Jimmy Jones, and Billy May, and accompaniment by Cannonball Adderley, George Shearing, and Hank Jones. It features 44 newly-remastered songs from the pens of Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Ellington, Arlen, Van Heusen, and more.
Personnel: Nancy Wilson (vocals); Joe Gibbons, Bobby Gibbons, John Michael Gray, Jack Marshall, Mundell Lowe, John Collins, Bob Bain, Charles Wright (guitar); Bob Hardaway (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, English horn); Justin Gordon (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone); Abe Most, Ted Nash (flute, clarinet); Bill Green (bass flute, saxophone, alto saxophone); Ernie Snell (bass flute, baritone saxophone); Benny Carter (reeds, saxophone); Jules Jacobs, Bill Ulyate (reeds); Arthur Herfurt, William Ulyate, Jerome A. Kasper, Bill Perkins, Bill Hood, Buddy Collette (saxophone); Jimmy Woods, Joe Maini, Bill Green (alto saxophone); Harold Land, Teddy Edwards (tenor saxophone); Clyde Reasinger, Uan Rasey, Conrad Gozzo , Jules Chaikin, Freddie Hill, Emanuel Klein, Harry "Sweets" Edison , Carmell Jones, Jimmy Salko, Joe Graves, Al Porcino, Pete Candoli, John Audino, Bobby Bryant (trumpet); James A. Decker, Arthur Frantz, Henry DeRosa, Richard Perissi, Henry Sigismonti, Richard Mackey (French horn); Milt Bernhart, Chuck Cooper, Dick Noel, Phillip Teele, William Schaefer, Don Switzer, George Roberts , Lew McReary, Pullman Pederson, Richard Nash, Eddie Kusby, John Ewing , Milt Bernhardt, Murray McEachern, Tommy Pederson , Kenny Shroyer, Lew McCreary, Lester Robertson, Lloyd Ulyate (trombone); Red Callender (tuba); Jack Wilson (piano, celesta); Donn Trenner, George Shearing, Jimmy Jones , Lou Levy, Ralph Sharon, Ronnell Bright, Meyer Rubin (piano); George Duvivier, Jimmy Bond, Joe Mondragon, Sam Jones, Joe Comfort (bass instrument); Carol Kaye (electric bass); Buster Williams (bass guitar); Grady Tate, Stan Levey, Kenny Dennis (drums); Gene Estes, Larry Bunker (percussion); Dick Garcia, Gene Bertoncini, Joe Pass (guitar); Gene Cipriano (bass flute, tenor saxophone); Chuck Gentry, Willie Smith, Paul Horn (reeds); Plas Johnson (saxophone, tenor saxophone, trombone); Fred Falensby (saxophone); Frank Strozier, Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone); Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor saxophone); Jack Nimitz (baritone saxophone); Don Fagerquist, Frank Beach (trumpet); Nat Adderley (cornet); Vincent DeRosa (French horn); Si Zentner, Bob Edmondson (trombone); Hank Jones , Joe Zawinul, Milt Raskin (piano); Hal Blaine (vibraphone, drums, chimes); Victor Feldman (vibraphone, timpani, percussion); Eddie Costa (vibraphone); Louis Hayes, Nick Ceroli, Shelly Manne, Irving Cottler, Walter Bolden (drums); Emil Richards (percussion); Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Ron Carter .
Liner Note Author: Donald Elfman.
Recording information: Capitol studios, Los Angeles, CA (12/05/1959-11/06/1969).
Photographer: Ken Veeder.
Arrangers: George Shearing; Gerald Wilson; Jimmy Jones ; Oliver Nelson; Billy May.
One of three excellent Nancy Wilson compilations issued simultaneously by Capitol Jazz in 2005, THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK cherry-picks from the many standards that the pop/jazz vocalist recorded for the label between 1959 and '69. Here the often-underrated singer, who delicately balances emotion and clear enunciation, works with ensembles both large and small, and her various collaborators include conductor Billy May, saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, bassist Ron Carter, and pianists George Shearing, Hank Jones, and Joe Zawinul.
Just a few highlights of this collection are a rollicking big-band rendition of "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," a sauntering take on the Harold Arlen/Truman Capote-penned "Sleepin' Bee," and a gorgeously minimal version of "In a Sentimental Mood," which showcases Wilson's mellifluous voice. Although Wilson truly shines in a small-group setting, she can capably front an orchestra, as revealed on "It Never Entered My Mind" and other numbers. With 44 tracks that boast beautifully remastered sound, this well-compiled two-disc set should help to deservedly raise Wilson's profile.