Record Review - Songs In the Key of Love
by Phil Boatwright

This isn’t so much a review as an appreciation. Still, while music critiquing is a bit out of my line, I’m down with Old Blue Eyes and Lady Ella. Therefore, I am confident in my music medium aplomb.

Nancy Osborne, a friend of mine for many a moon, has been singing the American Songbook, accompanied by big and little bands, for years – though you wouldn’t know it by her youthful appearance. Well, recently Miss Nancy sent me her just-released CD entitled Songs in the Key of Love, a collection of intimate standards that have been heard in every outlet from the concert hall to the elevator. And I’m pleased to say, that her vocal spice had me on the very first number, a bossa nova take on Cole Porter’s I Concentrate on You. (Nancy, next album – all Antonio Carlos Jobim!)

I’ve come to the conclusion that Nancy Osborne has a style that’s both her own and yet reminiscent of the chanteuse persona of the last millennium’s ‘40s and ‘50s. There’s little limit to her interpretive range as she goes from Latin bossa nova to definitive American sultry jazz. Osborne’s love of the romantic ballad and her theatrical vocal presence keep us lulled throughout Tenderly, My Funny Valentine, Laura and Moonglow. She also goes outside the comfort zone of many vocalists with somewhat quirky and bravado versions of Wichita Lineman, I Never Meant to Hurt You/One Less Bell to Answer and What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?

If you’re a fan of Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney or Jo Stafford, you’ll find Nancy’s voice in that same original realm. In addition, the arrangements by world famous guitarist and arranger Don Peake, and top drawer background by Richard Glasser and Ed Lodjeski (piano), Ron Barrows (trumpet – reminiscent of Bobby Hackett) and others in the captivating combo, enhance Nancy’s bewitching renditions.

Yeah, I’m her friend. But I’m also a fan.

For more info on Songs in the Key of Love (Label: N’Joy Records) and other recordings by Nancy Osborne, plus her concert dates, go to www.nancyosborne.net.