With her play list selection, King pays homage to some of the leading contributors to the Great American Song Book, both classic contributors and those from the bop side of jazz. Tunes by Artie Shaw, Hoagy Carmichael and Jerome Kern are given unique treatments. The presence of the two bop staples, Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple" and Sonny Rollins' "St. Thomas" shows King is not only willing to take risks, she relishes the challenge. And the challenge of performing these tunes is to create improvisation of equivalent quality to that of their composers. She passes this test with the highest scores possible - - an absolute tour de force as is the classic Wardell Gray/Annie Ross "Twisted". The latter is the subject of an exhaustive 10 minutes examination where, appropriately, King twists the harmonies up and down and in and out. Wonderful stuff!
Mention has to be made of King's "4", all Italian jazz musicians, but one. Because there is no piano, except for the last track, considerable pressure is on the rhythm section to provide the requisite support for the singer. They do this as if they had been working together for years. Attilio Zanchi's bass at first listen is like a guitar meandering in the lower registers. American John Stowell's guitar assumes the role of the piano as he takes extended, intelligent solos on several cuts. The drums of Gianni Cazzola provide punctuation when needed, but are never intrusive.
If you have a limited jazz album budget, make sure you have room for this one.
Track Listing: Moon Ray; Yesterdays; Twisted; Everything Happens to Me; How High the Moon; Quiet Nights; St. Thomas; Scrapple from Apple; Useless Landscape*
Personnel: Nancy King - Vocals; John Stowell - Guitar; Attilio Zanchi - Bass; Gianni Cazzola - Drums; Giovanni Ceccarelli* - Piano