Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jazz Vocalist Nancy Harms Impresses on Debut Recording

There are any number of new CDs coming out from known and lesser known jazz singers. One that came to me from the Crossover Media folk is from Nancy Harms, a singer we are sure to hear more from in the future.

Vocalist Nancy Harms is certain to enchant many on her debut CD, “In the Indigo” (, exhibiting a subtle and sophisticated vocal style mixing the soft whisper of an Astrid Gilberto with a strong dash of Billie Holiday’s horn-like phrasing. Backed by a supple, tight studio band featuring the keyboards of Tanner Taylor, bass of the Graydon Peterson and drums of Jay Epstein, with producer Robert Bell adding guitar on two selections while Kelly Rossum’s trumpet adds welcome embellishments to four of the eleven selections here. This disc is comprised of mostly fresh reworkings of standards with the lovely rendition of “Bye Bye Blackbird,” opening with Peterson’s bass providing a skeletal backing for her wistful vocal with the trio and Rossum’s muted trumpet (in a Miles Davis’ vein) then coming in. “I Wished On the Moon,” is among many songs oft identified with Lady Day, but Ms. Harms places her own stamp on the lively rendition here with more strong trumpet, before an intimate performance on “Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise,” with a delightful trip backing. The title track is one of two originals that she was involved in writing and is a romantic number with a light latin touch with Bell adding some nice flamenco-tinged guitar. Her melancholic whispering vocal on “Cry Me a River,” is complemented by Taylor’s sparse piano playing and solo, while an unexpected cover is of John Mayer’s “Great Indoor,” benefits from Taylor’s atmospheric organ. “Blue Skies” opens with her original verse before she launches into Irving Berlin’s classic for another enchanting rendition that opens in an intimate manner before her and her trio kick the tempo swinging her and her vocal coming off as trumpet-like with her precise phrasing. Its yet another excellent performance on a marvelous recording by a singer who certainly enchants the listener here. “In the Indigo” is available from and can be downloaded from itunes, among other sources.

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