Nancy Valentine | Lovesome

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Moods: Solo Female Artist
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by Nancy Valentine

A major first class, mainstream, vocal jazz debut album with superb vocal interpretation, tune selection, arrangements and band personnel well worth the wait, the cost and the listening time.....THE REAL THING!!!!!
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. You Better Know It (feat. Harry Allen & Joe Magnarelli)
4:46 $0.99
2. So This Is Love (feat. Harry Allen)
4:46 $0.99
3. Oo! You Make Me Tingle (feat. Harry Allen)
5:17 $0.99
4. You're the One (feat. Dick Oatts, Gary Smulyan, Harry Allen & Dominick Farinacci)
6:25 $0.99
5. A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing (feat. Joe Magnarelli)
7:08 $0.99
6. Something to Live For (feat. Harry Allen & Warren Vache)
5:13 $0.99
7. Wounded Love
2:21 $0.99
8. Maybe (feat. John di Martino & Harry Allen)
4:48 $0.99
9. Pretty Girl (feat. John di Martino)
5:56 $0.99
10. My Flame Burns Blue (Blood Count) [feat. Harry Allen]
4:55 $0.99
11. U.M.M.G. (Upper Manhattan Medical Group) [feat. Tamir Hendelman, Warren Vache & Harry Allen]
5:04 $0.99
12. Thank You for Everything (Lotus Blossom)
3:34 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes


I was doing the New York Times crossword puzzle a few days ago, and there it was again: “Duke Ellington’s ‘Take The ____.” I get that “A” Train was popularized by Ellington as his theme song, but isn’t it about time for the world to catch on to possibly the greatest relationship in all of music? Ellington never failed to mention that his band’s signature piece was composed and arranged by Billy Strayhorn, but audiences didn’t want to hear it. They saw Ellington—the urbane, classy pianist and bandleader. They never saw the shy, diminutive Swee’ Pea. And so it is only fitting and long overdue that Nancy Valentine treats us to an entire CD of a dozen of Strayhorn’s songs.

In addition to Strays’ classic subway train ride, this collection also avoids the other frequently performed, but most uncommon, "Lush Life". Nine of these lesser-known songs have lyrics by Strayhorn. When Ellington hired Strays in 1938, part of the job description was to write lyrics. Unfortunately, this immense talent took a back seat as soon as the Maestro realized that he could depend on his alter ego to compose and arrange whatever musical material the band needed. If you don’t recognize the titles of,"Pretty Girl", and the last three songs in this collection, it’s because they were originally instrumental classics. The lyrics were added later.

Although every one of these songs was composed between 50 and 80 years ago, in the hands of Nancy and the musicians they sound as if they were written today. From the tongue-in-cheek, "You Better Know It", to the romantic, "Pretty Girl" (aka: The Star-Crossed Lovers) and the heartbreaking life-and-death struggle of, "My Flame Burns Blue" (aka: Blood Count), each song has its own unique well-drawn character with challenging melodic contours and chromatic harmonies—a virtual graduate course for aspiring songwriters—those who aspire to write the most sophisticated music. Billy Strayhorn was the poster boy for sophistication in every way. Ellington described himself as a primitive. Strays exuded sophistication sartorially, gastronomically, behaviorally and artistically.

There is a reason why these 12 songs are rarely if ever performed: they are difficult to sing and play. The music is complex and demands a high level of musicianship and preparation. Kudos to Nancy, arrangers John di Martino and Tamir Hendelman and all the performers for treating this music with respect and creativity. It is no easy task to resist being intimidated by such superior material. How often do we hear bland, mediocre versions of great songs because the arrangers and players were afraid to put their own personal stamp on a masterpiece?

The 14 different top-flight brand name jazz musicians appearing on this collection back Nancy up in different combinations ranging from the piano/voice duo of, "Pretty Girl", to the septet on, "You’re The One". Nancy’s concept for the project was to create a diverse assortment of approaches treating each song individually and let her voice and Strayhorn’s songs be the glue that binds it all together. At times she becomes one of the instruments, but she is always listening to them and interacting in a way that you rarely hear singers do.

Over the last few years Nancy has been obsessed with the Strayhorn repertoire. She performs it whenever and wherever she can. In the process it’s become HER music.

David Berger, November 20, 2016


Often being overshadowed by his employer and sometime collaborator, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn deserves a place in the pantheon of Great American Songwriters.

This wonderful CD debut featuring Nancy Valentine, one of our best jazz vocalists, together with a stellar group of outstanding jazz musicians, in their own right, will do much to bring about a greater awareness of Strayhorn's gifts through the many beautiful arrangements by pianist, John di Martino, who, like Valentine, seems to understand the very essence and sheer brilliance of Billy Strayhorn's Compositions!

Jack Kleinsinger , November 23, 2016
Highlights In Jazz

Nancy Valentine's interpretation of these Timeless Strayhorn Classics literally gives me goosebumps! She sings with so much soul and feeling you imagine the songs were written exclusively for her!

Dave Darlington , November 28, 2016
Bass Hit Recording

Nancy Valentine's sumptuous voice is THE perfect garment for Billy Strayhorn's melodies!

John di Martino Composer - Arranger - Jazz Pianist

Nancy Valentine sings Strayhorn with a depth of feeling which this music demands! She shades his melodies with multicolored blues and tells their stories with a subtle, lyrical honesty inviting you into the music. This is a special one!

Tamir Hendelman Jazz Pianist - Arranger - Composer - Educator

Nancy Valentine is a consummate professional with a unique approach in her delivery of lyrics. She is also fun to work with and her singing encompasses perfection and warmth.

Jim Czak Engineer - Nola Recording Studios, NYC

Nancy has a vision of how a song is supposed to go and she makes it happen that comes out that way. The only other singer who does that is Annie Ross. No singer sings like that anymore. No singer sings like that today.....perfectionist!

Warren Vache Jazz Cornetist - Educator

It's rare to meet such a combination of a voice this beautiful with a person behind it so disciplined yet passionate. Add to this, carefully selected sets of some of the best music ever written and you have Nancy Valentine and the gig you just can't miss. She's THE REAL THING!

Boris Koslov Jazz Bassist - Mingus Big Band - Mingus Dynasty

As an expressive, tasteful and versatile jazz singer, Nancy has a very appealing voice that is quite haunting. She is a perfect match for the music of Billy Strayhorn. A memorable singer who is poised to make an important impact on the music scene.

Scott Yanow Jazz Commetator - Writer - Reviewer - Editor

Nancy has the essence of a very accomplished musician. Her intuition, bona fide musicianship and tons of soul, skills most technically gifted musicians would trade in a minute for just an ounce of Nancy's expression. What she has can't be taught!

Bob Stoloff Jazz Vocalist - Former Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music, Mass. - Author of, "SCAT!", "BLUES SCATITUDES", and more.....

As I listened to this CD, I closed my eyes and realized my feelings! I mellowed out.....I relaxed.....and I thoroughly enjoyed this magnificent, musical adventure! It does everything! It's like champagne! It's beautiful, sensitive and outrageous all in one CD! #8 MAYBE is my favorite!

Barbara Barros Antique Dealer



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