Hot Swing Cool Jazz
NANCY OSBORNE - 'HOT SWING, COOL JAZZ' NJOY PROD. NO8816 1. I Love Being Here With You (Peggy Lee/William Shluger - 1954) 2:17 2. Mister Sandman (Pat Ballard - 1954) 3:35 3. Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead* (E.Y. Harburg/Harold Arlen - 1939) 2:56 4. I've Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter - 1936) 4:07 5. It's De-Lovely (Cole Porter, 1936) 2:48 6. Something's Gotta Give* (Johnny Mercer - 1955) 2:10 7. Only You* (Morgan Ames/Bob Florence - 1987) 4:39 8. And the Angels Sing (Johnny Mercer/Ziggy Elman - 1939) 3:11 9. All That Jazz (Fred Ebb/John Kander ?' 1975) 3:24 10. He's A Tramp (Peggy Lee/Sonny Burke - 1955) 2:26 11. Pardon My Southern Accent.* (Johnny Mercer/Matty Matlock -1934) 2:17 12. Two Lost Souls** (Richard Adler/Jerry Ross -1955) 2:24 13. The Gypsy in My Soul* (Moe Jaffe/Clay Boland - 1938) 3:06 14. Georgia On My Mind (Stuart Gorrell/Hoagy Carmichael - 1930) 4:22 15. Hallelujah, I Just Love Him So* (Ray Charles - 1956) 2:31 16. As Long As I'm Singing* (Bobby Darin - 1963) 1:36 Total Playing Time: 48:22 Recorded August 5, and 19, 2005 at Entourage Studios, North Hollywood, CA, Andy Waterman, Head of Recording Produced by Paul McDonald and Nancy Osborne Mastering by Ron McMasters, Capitol Mastering Studio Engineer: Andy Waterman 2nd Assistant Engineer: Stacy Carson 2nd Assistant ProTools Wizards: Stacy Carson, Maurico Cajueiro, Josh Lynch Graphix Design and Artwork by Shankura Collinson Cover photos by Felecia Martinez Cover photos Makeup Artistry by Allison Briggs Booklet photos by Sherre Lovick Booklet Notes by Floyd Levin Orchestra personnel: Director, Paul McDonald Arrangements by Paul McDonald, Lon Norman, Jonathan Barick, Dave Wolpe, Bob Florence, with special thanks to Diz Mullins and Bill McKeag Trumpets: Charlie Davis, Ron Barrows, Mike McGuffey, Barbara Laronga Trombones: Charlie Loper, Paul Young, Linda Small, Bryant Byers Reeds: Pete Christlieb, Gary Herbig, Darryl Winsman, Andrew Martinez, Cindy Bradley, Mike Acosta* Piano: Jim Cox, Tom Ranier* Guitar: Ron Hershewe Bass: Geo Valle Drums: Sammy K Guest Vocalist: Ned Rifken** ********* NANCY OSBORNE - 'HOT SWING, COOL JAZZ' CD Notes by Floyd Levin This, surprisingly, is Nancy Osborne's first CD. She has rapidly ascended the ladder of success while working with leading studio musicians in several local orchestras. As a result, she has continually grown as an individual stylist. Nancy's confident interpretation of each number is a definitive example of how to sing a beautiful song - beautifully (with a compatible orchestration, a perfect tempo, and a perceptive delivery of words as the lyricist intended.) Her ability to sustain notes, on pitch, is evident in virtually every track. She wisely resists employing pyrotechnics, or compromising the lyrics. You will notice that her breezy free-flowing musical sense always keeps her heading in the right direction as she covers several less-traveled routes along America's musical highway. The exemplary tune list emphasizes music from the '20s to the '50s written by such great composers as Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, etc. The eclectic program includes several songs with which you are probably familiar. There are also a few you seldom hear, and some that you might not have heard before - plus a few numbers transposed for the first time into a jazz context. Nancy gracefully converts some theatrically-oriented compositions into auditory gems, and offers a few written for films. She also explores some dusty corners in the catalogues of noted composers. All the songs are styled in her personal manner, with an individual finesse that extracts the full essence of each selection. Her skilled arrangers, avoiding the inclusion of interminable instrumental solos, have masterfully concentrated on creating an elegant presentation of every song that properly underscores Nancy's vocal artistry. Diligently directed by Paul MacDonald, the seventeen-piece orchestra, comprising top-ranked Southern California musicians, sailed through the complex arrangements with apparent ease. The orchestra's rhythm section is heard to great advantage behind Sammy K's range of percussion variations that swing with an empathetic surge. Their rhythmic blend, with Jim Cox or Tom Ranier's piano, Ron Herschewe's guitar, and Geo Valle's string bass, speaks eloquently as an aligned orchestral voice. The studio engineers, having initially spun the knobs and slid the slides on their giant control panel, made only occasional minor adjustments to assure perfect recordings. Nancy has steadily attracted loyal fans by her ingratiating personality, and a natural approach to singing - which is very obvious here. Her penchant for verses, and her obvious admiration for Johnny Mercer's relevant lyrics, are also evident. I am completely in accord with a notable pundit, who, many years ago, perceptibly admonished critics and fans to simply 'listen.' So, just sit back and listen to Nancy Osborne's 'Hot Swing, Cool Jazz' - and you will hear the 'truth!' ***** Jonathan Barrick's arrangement of Peggy Lee's 'I Love Being Here With You,' with which Nancy launches her sixteen-piece program, serves as a very appropriate greeting. It also provides a cheery indication of what is to follow. 'Mister Sandman,' the million-selling record by The Chordettes, with Archie Bleyer's Orchestra in 1954, is her salute to the current Chordettes, in which she is a member. With only piano accompaniment initially, and later bass and guitar, Nancy's brilliant delivery blends gracefully toward an extraordinary tenor sax solo by Pete Christlieb. A hint of the Chordette's original 'cascade' introduction appears in arranger Paul McDonald's clever coda. 'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead' was among the memorable Harold Arlen numbers in the score of the 1939 film, 'The Wizard of Oz.' Nancy presents this song in a jazz setting almost seven decades after Judy Garland introduced it on the screen with the Munchkins. 'I've Got You Under My Skin,' sung by Virginia Bruce in the 1936 film 'Born to Dance,' was nominated for an Academy Award that year. The Cole Porter composition benefits here by Jim Cox's intuitive piano accompaniment. He fully understands his role - not to overshadow, but to subtly support Nancy's vocal. She brilliantly spotlights Porter's astute lyrics that sway with the underlining rhumba tone in Paul McDonald's arrangement at this seductively slow tempo. 'It's De-Lovely,' arranged by the late Lon Norman, is another tune from Cole Porter's prolific pen. It was introduced by Ethel Merman and Bob Hope in the Broadway show 'Red Hot and Blue.' Nancy's earthy and ethereal eight-bar intro, high and clear as though floating in from afar, is reminiscent of Adelaide Hall's wordless obbligato on Duke Ellington's 1927 recording of 'Creole Love Call.' Gary Herbig's soaring clarinet adds the steamy quality this tune deserves. 'Something's Gotta Give' was a vocal and dance number by Fred Astaire in the 1955 movie, 'Daddy Long Legs.' Undaunted by the speedy tempo, Nancy, singing Johnny Mercer's words and music, tells the story with deep conviction. 'Only You' is the most recent number on this program that spans six decades of popular music. It is not to be confused with The Platters' major R & B hit in the '50s with the same title. Nancy's steamy vocal is warmly cushioned by composer Bob Florence's sensually structured arrangement. The almost imperceptible tones of Barbara Laronga's softly muted trumpet provide an additional layer of warmth. Ziggy Elman's 'And the Angels Sing' was originally written as a klezmer song, 'Fralich in Swing.' Benny Goodman's recording, with vocalist Martha Tilton singing Johnny Mercer's lyrics, became a tremendous Swing Era hit. Delivering those words with warm tenderness, Nancy brightens them with her fresh rhythmic flow. Ron Barrows' introspective sixteen-bar trumpet solo, circumventing Ziggy Elman's Yiddish phrasing on the familiar Goodman hit, is a model of melodic construction. (It prompted a stirring round of applause from the orchestra when the recording ended.) Four clarinets and a flute created the perfect fluttering tag. 'All That Jazz' has been rocking the Broadway scene since 1975 in the hit musical 'Chicago.' Nancy joyously welcomes us to 'the whoopee spot, where the gin is cold - and the piano's hot!' Almost everyone in the Broadway cast sang a few bars when this number was staged - -but Nancy seamlessly weaves them all together during three shimmy-shaking minutes, arranged by Lon Norman, that will most likely inspire a prompt replay! 'He's A Tramp' was heard by it's co-composer Peggy Lee on the soundtrack of 'The Lady and the Tramp,' Walt Disney's first full-length animated CinemaScope cartoon in 1955. Lee's influence is apparent here (and throughout this CD.) The very appropriate 'railroad' sounds bring the piece to it's fitting conclusion. 'Pardon My Southern Accent,' with the folksy quality of Johnny Mercer's lyrics, fits perfectly within Nancy's broad musical spectrum - she is a Kentucky gal, and retains her Dixie heritage. I am sure y'all will 'pardon her Southern accent' as she creates what is now probably the definitive interpretation of this tune written back in 1934. 'Two Lost Souls ('We Got Each Other')' is an almost forgotten item from the Broadway score of 'Damn Yankees.' Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme had the hit recording. It appears here as a vocal duet with Nancy and Ned Rifken, with whom she has worked for several years after she discovered him singing to recorded music on the streets in Hollywood. Now a successful free-lance artist, Rifken performs regularly on the Carnival Lines cruise ships. As a team, Nancy and Ned recall the vocal rapport of Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberle with Jimmy Dorsey's orchestra that sold millions of records in the early '40s. Like many great tunes of the era, Mildred Bailey's recording of 'The Gypsy in My Soul' probably triggered it's success. Despite the passage of years, Nancy surely identified with, and obviously succumbed to these almost prophetic lyrics - 'I've got to give vent to my emotions....there's something calling me from way out yonder.' 'Georgia on My Mind,' Hoagy Carmichael's enduring standard, is as popular today as when the composer recorded it in 1930 with such legendary sidemen as Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, Jimmy Dorsey, Bud Freeman, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, and Gene Krupa. Dave Wolpe's arrangement of Nancy's expressive swinging version includes another eloquent tenor saxophone solo by Pete Christlieb, and also some additional examples of Jim Cox's pianistic skills. 'Hallelujah, I Just Love Him So' is Nancy's tribute to composer Ray Charles' memory - and he would surely have approved of the mellow manner in which she personally interprets his words and music. Bobby Darin's hit 'As Long as I'm Singing,' is, appropriately, the concluding number on this CD. And, as long as she continues singing her 'Hot Swing, Cool Jazz,' Nancy will continue to attract fans enamored with her fresh approach to the music. ****** After hearing these sixteen songs, I think you will agree that Nancy Osborne belongs among the most significant artists in her field and deserves a prominent role in concert halls and festivals where jazz is presented around the world. This CD is the initial giant step in that direction. ****** Floyd Levin, is the author of 'JAZZ, A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians' published by the University of California Press.