My Musical Family
MY MUSICAL FAMILY
My Dad taught piano to my sister and me for the first six years or so. These were long, creative sessions with Dad pretending to be a conductor and putting us in every conceivable musical situation so that we would become excellent musicians. He was a charismatic man who made learning an exciting adventure. I have wonderful memories of his endless enthusiasm and joy -- all of which he passed on to his two musical daughters.
When I was about 13 and my sister 10, we all studied with a wonderful teacher from Juilliard. He taught all three of us at our home in New Jersey every week, while Mom made dinner for everyone. It was quite a marathon of studying, learning and dining!
While I was studying classical music formally, my jazz record collection grew quite suddenly when a family friend lost his job as a DJ and his radio station converted to a talk radio format. The next thing I knew, piles of records were being stacked in my room - mostly singers, but also jazz piano trios. These recordings became my after school musical wonderland adventure. I played them and sang with the great singers in my bedroom mirror and pretended that their musical lives were mine!
I sang with the best: Ella and Riddle and the Songbook Albums, Nat Cole’s Trio, Sarah and Lena, especially loving the 'live' albums where my fantasy could really fly! I listened to Peggy Lee’s pitch and time and marveled at her understated style. I sang along with Mel and Marty Paich’s wonderful arrangements. I knew every lick and note in all the Sinatra recordings and I longed to be a 'Hi-Lo!' Carmen McRae and early Nancy Wilson recordings focused my goal to night clubs, as did the cool stylings of June, Chris and Anita, and the sound of Doris Day, which was not unlike my early sound. And I loved Dinah and Joe Williams and Ray Charles!
I said ‘no’ and my Dad said ‘fine’. . . !
After my graduation, I spent some time singing “Jingles” and demos in the studios, and although I liked the perfection of recording, and the financial reward, I didn’t find it terribly
creative and began looking elsewhere for musical satisfaction. Soon after, I signed a contract with Columbia Records, which produced two single releases and a one-year association.
MARANO & MONTEIRO
I received a call from Benny Carter, inviting me to sing on his Songbook Albums, and I was also a guest artist on a Dick Hyman CD, and an album featuring the songs of Duncan Lamont, called “Carousel.” However, my musical childhood dream was really fulfilled with the recording “If You Could See Us Now!” This project involved singing with the 62-piece Metropole Orchestra. All the arrangements written by Manny Albam and it was one of the most thrilling musical experiences I have ever had.
Because of the variety of work
and experience my working years have given me, and the supremely talented
musicians and amazingly dedicated, creative people that I call my friends
and colleagues, I consider myself very lucky to enjoy an extremely rich
and balanced life!
. . . Has been lauded as a distinctive musical talent in a New Yorker profile by Whitney Balliett. She has also been profiled by Billy Taylor and Charles Kurault on the exalted CBS Sunday Morning TV program, The Wall Street Journal, Jazz Improv Magazine, and by NPR “Crossover” in two one-hour broadcasts featuring her recordings and interviews.
. . . Named Top 4 Jazz Vocalists of the Year by IAJE Journal’s Dr. Herb Wong, following the release of her critically acclaimed recording with the 62-piece Netherlands Metropole Orchestra, entitled If You Could See Us Now! which featured the arrangements of Manny Albam.
. . . Seven CDs to date as leader, and two as guests of Benny Carter, The Benny Carter Songbooks, Volumes I and II, and Dick Hyman Swing Is Here. The latter was included in the film soundtrack Two Weeks Notice. She has recorded with Gerry Mulligan, Michel Legrand, Michael Abene,Grady Tate, Claudio Roditi, Frank Wess, and Roger Kellaway.
. . . Concerts at North Sea Jazz, Sea Jazz in Helsinki, and Marca Jazz in Italy. In New York City, JVC, and Charlie Parker Festival with Benny Carter. Performances at The Port Townsend Jazz Festival, Norway Floating Jazz Festival, IAJE, Women In Jazz, Absolute Grappelli, Henry Mancini Institute Big Band, and The Alec Wilder Festival, NYC, 2003. Guest soloist with the Radio Big Band of Slovenia, and the WDR Radio Big Band of Koln, Germany in several concerts with composer/arranger Michael Abene.
. . . Latest recording, You’re Nearer is on the Munich Records label, was recorded in Holland with the Rob van Bavel Trio and some of the finest musicians in The Netherlands. It is currently available in the USA, Canada and Internationally and features the multi-faceted singer’s talents as vocalist, pianist, and arranger.
. . . Vocal Editor of the Bill Evans Fakebooks, Volumes I and II.
. . . A most sought-after clinician internationally, having taught in Artist in Residency capacity at the Conservatories of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and 2000-2003 in the Summer Jazz Workshop of Amsterdam Conservatory. She has given Master Classes in Delft and Arnhem in Holland and also in Slovenia and Germany. She is currently a Voice Panelist and Adjudicator for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Nancy has appeared with Barry Harris in several concerts at New York City’s Town Hall in Barry’s The Family Jazz Series. Nancy has been a member of the jazz faculty of Manhattan School of Music for 16 years, and William Paterson University for 8 years. (private lessons, ensembles, sight-singing, and jazz choir).
. . . Teaches privately in her studio. Nancy also conducts frequent Vocal Performance workshop classes in New York City, called Sessions in Song and Swing. She also teaches classes focusing on Sight-Singing, Harmonic Study, Rhythm Drills, and Theory, called Musicianship for the Jazz Vocalist. Nancy will soon be publishing her first methods book of the same title.
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