Crossover projects are the hallmark of the Sonux Ensemble. Together with the jazz-saxophonist Stefan Kuchel and the Sirius Quartet, the young men’s choir performs contemporary works. The Quartet members describe themselves as artists of improvisation who break out of the conventional vocabulary of sound for a string quartet. Most pieces on this CD were written especially for the Sonux Ensemble, and thus composed to the singers’ strengths. "We have worked on these pieces together with the composers, and given them their first performances over the course of the last five years. This disc features only world premiere recordings and, literally, unheard of choral music," the choir’s director Hans-Joachim Lustig notes.
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.