TELLING DEAR STORIES: NANCY HARROW

Because we live in a world where there is every kind of sensory stimulus bombarding us, once in a while we need to slow down and listen, to take in molecules and atoms of beauty — what Ruby Braff called “aesthetic vitamins.”

By delightful serendipity, I found myself once again stopping — pausing — breathing in the singing of the wonderful Nancy Harrow, and in particular this recording of the Matty Malneck – Johnny Mercer IF YOU WERE MINE.

I know, and you do too, that the song is inextricably associated with Billie Holiday, but do clear your sensorium to hear Nancy — her delicate yet compelling phrasing, the shifting turquoise and grey timbres of her voice, the way she understands the deep message and brings it to us, her hands open, her emotions so present, midway between sigh and speech:

Her beautifully intuitive accompanists are Dick Katz, piano; Ray Drummond, string bass; Ben Riley, drums. And this performance can be found on Nancy’s most recent anthology — like a slim volume of poems in evocative, restorative order, PARTNERS II: I DON’T KNOW WHAT KIND OF BLUES I’VE GOT.

It’s available in all the usual places, thankfully.

I’ve written about Nancy since 2017, but rather than read one more line from me, I urge you to enter and re-enter her lovely worlds.

May your happiness increase!

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