This is a reissue of an excellent collaboration of the Nancy Wilson voice with the Cannonball Adderley alto sax from the early '60s. While this 1961 recording was the first time Wilson was with Adderley in the studio, it was not the first time they had worked together. After singing with Rusty Bryant's band, Wilson worked with Adderley in Columbus, OH. It was there that Adderley encouraged her to go to N.Y.C. to do some recording, eventually leading to this session.
Not entirely a vocal album, five of the 12 cuts are instrumentals. The additional cut added to the reissue, "Little Unhappy Boy," tips the scales in favor of Wilson's vocalizing. A highlight of the album is the gentle cornet playing of Nat Adderley behind Wilson, especially on "Save Your Love for Me" and on "The Old Country." Cannonball Adderley's swinging, boppish sax is heard to excellent effect throughout. Joe Zawinul's work behind Wilson on "The Masquerade Is Over" demonstrates that he is a talented, sensitive accompanist. On the instrumental side, "Teaneck" and "One Man's Dream" are especially good group blowing sessions. On the other end of the spectrum, Adderley's alto offers a lovely slow-tempo treatment of the Vernon Duke-Ira Gershwin masterpiece, "I Can't Get Started." To keep the listeners on their musical toes, the first couple of bars of "Save Your Love for Me" are quotes from "So What" from the Miles Davis Sextet seminal Kind of Blue session.
Given the play list and the outstanding artists performing it, why any serious jazz collection would be without this classic album is difficult to comprehend.
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
One night about four years ago in Columbus, Ohio, a willowy young singer took a busman's holiday from her job as vocalist with Rusty Bryant's band to join friends for an evening at the 502 Club - a local jazz emporium where a rather remarkable, up-and-coming alto saxophone player and his swinging combo were appearing.
The girl was Nancy Wilson, and the young man with the horn was Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. Their chance meeting that night will always be well-remembered by both of them.
"Nancy did some tunes with the band that night," Cannonball reflects, "unrehearsed, off-the-top-of-the-head stuff. Even then, this young kid had so much to offer - tone, style, confidence -1 felt she just had to go a long way."
Adderley's prophecy of stardom for Nancy has certainly been fulfilled since that first casual get-together just a few short years ago. For today Nancy Wilson is in every way a big-leaguer, a fast-rising young singing star who is just beginning to realize her full potential as an in-person performer as well as a top recording artist for Capitol Records.
"Cannonball has helped me so many times," Nancy remembers. "When I first came to New York, the first person I called when I got off the bus was Cannon." In New York, Nancy pounded an office typewriter by day and sang by night, the latter in a Bronx jazz spot known as the Blue Morocco. It was here (at Cannonball's urging) that John Levy, former bassist with the famed George Shearing Quintet and now the manager of Shearing, Adderley, and many other stars of jazz, first heard Miss Wilson. One listening was the clincher, and from that evening on Levy took the new singer in tow.
This was the start of many exciting developments for the girl from Columbus, not the least of which was the enthused reaction to her singing by Capitol Records' executive producer, Dave Cavanaugh. Frankly, Cavanaugh simply flipped and signed her right away. Her albums to date have won her a throng of new friends. Critics, their tastes often jaded by an endless parade of new jazz singers, have been unanimous in their praise of Nancy's remarkable phrasing, tone, control and dynamics. This album reaches a new point in the Wilson-Adderley mutual admiration society. Nancy sums it up this way:
"We've wanted to do this for months," she enthused. "But we wanted it to be spontaneous and relaxed. So we waited till the time was right for both of us. We wanted a happy, romping sound. It would be Cannonball's quintet with me fitting in as a sort of easy-going third horn on some nice songs that haven't already been 'heard to death' on records."
Cannonball on alto; Brother Nat Adderley on cornet; Louis Hayes on drums; Sam Jones on bass and Joe Zawinul on piano; that the quintet whose wide range of jazz ideas and driving appeal reaches (as Time Magazine put it) "to the very fringe of squaredom."
And Nancy's response to their great sound is really something to hear, as she sings with a versatility compounded alternately of savagery and delicacy, displaying the remarkable voice that has already convinced the entire music world that the young Nancy Wilson has, to put it mildly, "arrived."