I’ve written several times about my radio experiences in the early 1960’s so I won’t repeat all that, but I did want to mention again how we had a large shelf of record albums that we slowly worked our way through, playing a cut from each. The result of doing that day after day, week after week, month after month — well, you get the idea — was that the best of those albums became fixed in the dusty nooks and crannies of my memory. One of those platters featured a lady who was at that time in the early stages of what would become a long and rich career — Nancy Wilson.
While growing up during the post-war years in her home town of Chillicothe, Ohio, young Nancy was surrounded by some of the best music of early jazz. Her father was an avid fan and filled the house with big band records, along with those that featured vocalists like Billy Eckstine, Dinah Washington, and Nat King Cole. Nancy listened and learned, and pointed toward a musical career.
By the time she reached adulthood in the late 1950’s she was beginning to attract some notice as a club singer, and in 1959 signed a recording contract with Capitol. It was the beginning of a decades-long career that would include countless best-selling records, appearances in just about every possible venue, and even a starring turn on her own TV show. She would also work extensively with a number of greats, including George Shearing, Cannonball Adderley, and Ramsey Lewis, while exploring and conquering everything from romantic ballads to newer contemporary styles.
She has continued to make appearances through the years even though health issues have slowed her down a little, and currently has a busy schedule planned. And one thing is certain — she will always perform with style and elegance.