MP3 Kim Nalley - Need My Sugar
A classic swinging small combo vocal album that combines both jazz integrity and blues sensibility, great for listening or lindy.
9 MP3 Songs in this album (38:38) !
Related styles: Jazz: Retro Swing, Blues: Classic Female Blues, Type: Vocal
People who are interested in Dinah Washington Etta James Sarah Vaughan should consider this download.
Andrew Gilbert - Down Beat
"Sultry voiced 28-year-old Kim Nalley brings an irresistibly sexy sense of swing, rhythmic dexterity and beautiful sound to the classics."
All About Jazz - Forrest Bryant
"The entire album is a treat, 40 minutes of excellence."
CultureVulture - Mark Jennet
"In a world where any pretty young thing is touted as the next jazz superstar, Nalley is the real deal."
California JazzNow -Ferdinand Maylin
"She can give us sugar any time she wants to. This is a CD offering some fine sounds."
Clifford Brown, Jr. (KBLX, KSCM)
"Love the CD! I play it often both on air & at home."
About the Artist
"GOD, CAN THIS WOMEN CAN SING! It''s as if a vocalist from the great post-war blues and jazz combos had been transported to the end of the century." David Feld- Blues Access Magazine
Kim Nalley has delivered a thoroughly tasty vocal album that combines both jazz integrity and blues sensibility. It is firmly in the tradition of the classic swinging combo recordings of Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday, yet possesses a soulful groove reminiscent of the Blues and R& B divas, Dinah Washington and Etta James. Whether sitting close to your speaker with a cocktail or out dancing up a storm, this CD will compel you to listen over and over again. "At Last" is given new life with a delectable, drawn-out vocal that evokes cocktails, fireplaces and bearskin rugs. Nalley''s backing trio, Etta James'' Pianist Dave Mathews, Bassist Jeff Chambers (Gonzalo Rubacla) and Drummer Kent Bryson (Johnny Nocturne Band), shimmers beautifully on a haunting, Latin version of Eden Ahbez'' enigmatic ballad, "Nature Boy." It is easily one of the best recordings of that song in recent memory. The title cut is a rollicking boogie-woogie original; Nalley''s double-take lyrics and! barrelhouse delivery fit nicely into the tradition of bawdy women''s blues songs, and go a long way towards securing her place in that lineage. And the closer is a warmhearted take on "Our Day Will Come" that leaves the listener upbeat and wanting more.
Original Liner Notes
The art of jazz singing has taken a beating in recent years. It’s not that there aren’t great performers out there. But when it comes to younger singers, the artists receiving the lion’s share of attention seem to have little to contribute to the music’s future, as they come at jazz filtered through a nostalgic pop sensibility.
The widespread anxiety over the impending demise of the art of jazz singing has a powerful antidote, however, and her name is Kim Nalley. While she is still a work in progress, busy absorbing new sounds and influences, she is also a commanding performer who is steeped in jazz history (which by definition includes blues and R&B). In addition to her finely honed sense of taste, Nalley, combines a lithe, beautiful sound, excellent diction, a compelling sense of swing and old-school razzle dazzle. Equally authoritative on ballads and finger-snapping rhythm tunes, she doesn’t rely too much on her scatting, but when she starts improvising her lines are harmonically sophisticated and melodically inventive.
The proof is here in the pudding. While at first glance this album might seem like a modest selection of nine tunes, a couple of spins reveal the work of a singer with an expansive musical sensibility. Backed by Etta James’ pianist Dave Mathews, superlative bassist Jeff Chambers and the deft drummer Kent Bryson, who holds down the drum chair in the Johnny Nocturne Band, Nalley moves gracefully through a range of material that displays her respect for the tradition of Ivie Anderson, Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington and her determination to add to the lineage.
Opening with “September in the Rain,” Nalley turns the ballad into a breezy exercise in swing. Like Sarah Vaughan, she often uses the tune to kick off a set, and while her tone isn’t especially reminiscent of Vaughan’s, Nalley does project a Sassy sense of joy. On the underrated Mack Gordon/Harry Warren gem “At Last” Nalley digs deeply into her bag of soul, while on Irving Berlin’s “Say It Isn’t So,” she shows her deep affinity for Helen Humes. No piece better displays Nalley’s gift for remaking familiar songs in her own image than the Latin-tinged version of “Nature Boy.” Even as she luxuriates in unfolding the slow, sensuous lines she never lets the beat flag. Listen to how gently the trio moves into the montuno at the end.
Nalley flaunts her bawdy side on “Need My Sugar,” a tune that also showcases Mathews considerable boogie woogie skills. She discovered “I Was Telling Him About You” on the classic Joe Williams “Live At Birdland” album and she borrows the intro directly from Harry “Sweets” Edison’s tasty arrangement. It’s an obscure tune by Moose Charlap (father of the superb pianist Bill
Charlap), who also wrote the score to “Peter Pan.” To hear Nalley wail on Jimmy Reed’s “Goin’ To New York” is to be grateful she decided to dedicate herself to jazz, as she could have easily sauntered down a blues path and never looked back. She closes out the album with a version of “Our Day Will Come” that’s equally triumphant and hopeful.
Born and raised in New Haven, Nalley studied at the Educational Center for the Arts, a high school for artistically gifted teenagers. She attended the College of Holy Cross under a full scholarship and began an intense study of classical music and opera, receiving stipends as a soprano. But she had already caught the jazz bug and was giving herself a first rate education by checking out greats like Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, though she cites
“I was always really clued into those cartoons,” Nalley says. “Later when I was getting exposed to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald I was remembering songs from Fred Astaire movies and cartoons. I think I learned ‘I’m In the Mood For Love’ from the Little Rascals. I just snatched things up from anywhere I could. I can hear a song once and go home and write out the changes and bring it to the gig.”
Nalley first came to the Bay Area while following the Grateful Dead and soon returned to study history at U.C. Berkeley, where she started performing with the Cal Big Band. Before long she was singing professionally, and by the mid 90s she had established herself as the most exciting young singer on the Northern California jazz scene. Audiences dug as much for her bandstand charm and unabashedly sexy delivery, while veteran players were drawn to her by her superb musicianship and thorough knowledge of a vast array of standards.
She first gained national attention when Michael Tilson Thomas caught her act at the Alta Plaza Supper Club and immediately invited her to perform a program of Gershwin with the San Francisco Symphony, which he directs. Thomas has deeper jazz credentials than most conductors, as he made a valuable Gershwin album with Sarah Vaughan, and in Nalley he heard a worthy successor to her legacy. Indeed, he was so impressed with her voice that he produced a live recording of her farewell performance at the Alta Plaza in a grand culmination of her four-year run at the stylish supper club.
She made her next album, “Million Dollar Secret” on Rounder/Bullseye, with the Johnny Nocturne BandNalley is also featured on the Rounder CD “Any Woman’s Blues,” a compilation of the label’s best female blues recordings. A versatile performer capable of thriving in almost any context, she created the diva role in a European style circus show, Teatro Zinzanni, a spot that was subsequently filled by performers such as Maria Muldaur, Joan Baez and Sandra Reaves-Phillips.
In short, after a decade of hard work Nalley was the toast of San Francisco. But while working in Switzerland and Germany in 2001, she got a tantalizing taste of the European lifestyle, with its admiration for artists and respectable pay scale for jazz musicians. Rather than deal with Bay Area’s depressed entertainment economy, Nalley decided to seize the moment and she relocated to Basil, Switzerland in May 2002. Literally the night before flying to Europe, she assembled her favorite players together and recorded this album in a four-hour session.
It’s a snapshot of an artist on the move, a singer with a gorgeous sound who lives by the Gospel of Duke, “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” More than anything, Nalley knows at a soul deep level that jazz is celebratory music, an art form that provides musicians with a vehicle through which they can express an infinite range of emotions according to the needs of the moment. Let the party begin.
Andrew Gilbert covers jazz for Down Beat, the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, San Diego Union Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and other publications.