World Class is a new, two-level series from National Geographic Learning for high-intermediate and advanced English language learners. This integrated-skills program uses National Geographic content, images, and video to help learners expand their overall fluency while developing the tools and strategies necessary for effective, real-world communication.
Nancy Wilson's not the first name in bluesy jazz (check out Dinah Washington and Joe Williams for that), but she usually can enliven the form with her sophisticated and sultry style. That's made clear on her rendition of "Stormy Monday Blues," where she eschews blues clichés in favor of a husky airiness, at once referencing a lowdown mood and infusing it with a sense of buoyancy. This split is nicely essayed on Capitol's Blues and Jazz Sessions, as half the tracks ooze with Wilson's cocktail blues tone and the other find the jazz-pop chanteuse in a summery and swinging mood. Ranging from the big band blues of "I've Got Your Number" to the lilting bossa nova "Wave," Wilson handles all the varying dynamics and musical settings with aplomb. Featuring cuts from her '60s prime with the likes of Cannonball Adderley, Oliver Nelson, George Shearing, Gerald Wilson, and a host of top sidemen, this best-of disc offers a fine, off-the-beaten-path overview of Wilson's Capitol heyday.
Growing up as the child of one of the greatest icons in American music can't be easy, but Nancy Sinatra managed to create a sound and style for herself fully separate from that of her very famous father, and her sexy but strong-willed persona has endured with nearly the same strength as the image of the Chairman of the Board.
The careers of singer Nancy Wilson and pianist Ramsey Lewis have followed parallel lines since the early 1960s. Although both began as jazz artists, they soon found greater fame and fortune in contemporary pop and have rarely looked back since. In 1982, Mr. Lewis and Ms. Wilson teamed up for a vapid, forgettable collection of smooth jazz/contemporary pop called The Two of Us. For jazz fans, the record represented all the wrong turns taken by these two obviously talented musicians.