One Track Mind: Nancy Wilson with DIVA, “All My Tomorrows” from A Swingin’ Life (2014)

Nancy Wilson, so rarely heard these days, displays all of the elegance and depth that defined her 1960s triumphs on a new recording with the 15-piece, all-female, thrillingly unretro big band DIVA.

Returning to a key song from her 1963 Gerald Wilson/Joe Pass collaboration Yesterday’s Love Songs—Today’s Blues for Capitol Records, Wilson remains a wonder of range and sassy interpretation — even as DIVA adds a coiled sense of expectancy capped by Jami Dauber’s delicately emotional turn on the flugelhorn. Fifty years later, Wilson’s added a smoky intelligence to the original, whose smartly calibrated Gerald Wilson charts clearly influenced DIVA arranger John Clayton. But, otherwise, she remains untouched by the intervening decades.

“All My Tomorrows” is one of two songs featuring Nancy Wilson, along with “All of Me,” included in a new project called A Swingin’ Time on MCG Jazz. The sassy Marlena Shaw also tears through a Count Basie-inspired blues medley, as well as “Blackberry Winter” and “Wonder Why.”

Elsewhere, we find DIVA — led by drummer Sherrie Maricle; sparked by an idea from Buddy Rich’s old manager Stanley Kay — moving with complexity and verve through a principally instrumental set that’s capped by a kinetic run through Terry Gibb’s “Blues for Hamp.”

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.