Jazz CD Reviews

Nancy Osborne with the Don Peake All-Stars – Songs in the Key of Love – NJOY Records

An excellent presentation of some great songs of several generations.

Published on January 16, 2013

Nancy Osborne with the Don Peake All-Stars – Songs in the Key of Love – NJOY Records

Nancy Osborne with the Don Peake All-Stars – Songs in the Key of Love – NJOY Records, 50:56 *****:

(Nancy Osborne– vocals; Don Peake — band leader/guitar; Richard Glasser – piano; Ed Lodjeski – piano (on track 13); Geo Valle – bass; Ron Barrows – trumpet, flugelhorn; Steve Pemberton – drums/percussion; Peter Gordon  – flutes; Dave Pearlman – steel guitar)

Nancy Osborne is a consummate popular entertainer in the fields of song, movies and television.  She appears to be comfortable in almost any venue.  Nancy has a strong singing voice and her sophistication in her performances makes the listener feel comfortable. relaxed and is personable as she sings.  She performs equally well as a ballad, jazz, and swing singer.  Nancy is based out of Los Angeles, California but has performed nationwide.  Her credits include being an official member of the singing group, The Chordettes.  She has been featured with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, and several big bands.  She had a cabaret act in New York called “Birds of a Feather” that was popular in 2005. Her television appearances included ER, General Hospital, Bob Newhart and several commercials with Martha Stewart.  In films she was in Apollo 13, Independence Day and Murder By Numbers with Sandra Bullock.

Nancy came out with an album that I would call a five-star performance backed by a studio big band in 2005 called Hot Swing, Cool Jazz that lives up to that title with a lot of popular songs that are pretty much from the American song book.

Nancy released a new album in 2012 called Songs in the Key of Love.  It’s another album of songs from yesteryear to a more current time in the late ‘60s.  It brings some wonderful ballads that Nancy wraps her vocals around backed by some of the best musicians I have heard originating out of the Los Angeles area.  As you can see from the tracklist below there are some of the top ballads ever.  Nancy and the ensemble are using some great arrangements and selections for a hit album in this genre.

The song “Tenderly” is covered once again on an arrangement of Don Peake who provides the guitar work with Nancy singing and the bass of Geo Valle, piano of Richard Glasser, drummer Steve Pemberton being danced around by flautist Peter Gordon. “Moonglow”, a long-standing dance tune, is an especially nice and easy-going walking type of sound.

Included in the album is a quiet torchy vocal by Nancy augmented with a bit of Flugelhorn by Ron Barrows who later in the song takes a wonderful solo.  Nancy, piano, trumpet, guitar, bass, and percussion take it to the end of this wonderful mystic film noire “Laura”, one of my favorite ballads of all time.

I am a Michel Legrand fan but even more a fan of lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman and am delighted that Nancy has included “What are You Doing the Rest of Your life” composed by Michel and lyrics by the Bergmans.  This memorable ballad opens slowly with a several-bar piano intro.  Nancy comes in with a very heartfelt emotional vocal that will grab your attention in a duet with pianist Ed Lodjeski.

Songs in the Key of Love is a well-planned and thought-out group of songs that brings a lot of emotion and is an excellent presentation of some great songs of several generations.  The sound quality is excellent.  Songs in the Key of Love is a presentation of a little of this and that with some intimacy, swing, blues and some jazz in a small ensemble setting.  The liner notes are adequate and the cardboard packaging is attractive.

TrackList: 1. I Concentrate on You; 2. Tenderly; 3. My Funny Valentine; 4. Like A Lover; 5. Moonglow; 6. Laura; 7. Wichita Lineman; 8. Old Devil Moon; 9. That Old Black Magic; 10. I Never Meant to Hurt You/ One Less Bell to Answer; 11. Mean To Me; 12. Speak Low; 13. What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life.

—Tim Taylor

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