Very few improvisers in vocal jazz have mastered the musical vocabulary like Nancy King. The same can be said for the extremely accomplished pianist Fred Hersch. After many years of circling each other, the two have finally been documented in Nancy’s new MAXJAZZ release Live at Jazz Standard.
For most of her career, Nancy King has been considered the Pacific Northwest's pre-eminent jazz singer. National recognition was slower to come, though she always received the praise of her peers. For twenty years, King was known as an underground classic—a supremely talented vocalist whose strict adherence to straightahead jazz and independent attitude at times got in the way of national tours and higher visibility. By the end of the 1990s, however, King had become one of the leading jazz singers in the world. An improvising musician in the tradition of singers Sheila Jordan, Betty Carter, and Ella Fitzgerald, King is a master of the bebop-based scat singing style made famous by Louis Armstrong, as well as the vocalese approach developed by singer and lyricist Jon Hendricks, in which jazz solos are set to lyrics.