“Nightlife”, Duke Ellington once said, “is cut out of a very luxurious, royal-blue bolt of velvet. It sparkles with jewels, and it sparkles in tingling and tinkling tones.” On February 25th, vocalist Nancy Harms will offer a stunning new hour of the immortal Duke’s melodies, specially selected to illustrate that “luxurious royal blue” quality.
The show: “Ellington At Night”.
The singer, Nancy Harms, possesses a voice and style that “has the power to light cigarettes and then make them smolder all night long” (Dave Sumner, eMUSIC). …..“She engages the listener by seeming to put her whole soul completely forward and yet, somehow, hold something back at the same time….She’s the kind of a singer who, after hearing her just once, you’ll never want to let her go” (Will Friedwald, Wall Street Journal). In this new show, Nancy lends her luxuriant touch to the interpretation of a number of Ellington anthems and rarities, specially selected by Nancy and arranged for this concert by brilliant pianist-composer (and frequent Harms collaborator) Jeremy Siskind, who accompanies Nancy with his trio. “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good”, “Prelude To A Kiss”, “Rocks In My Bed”, and “Strange Feeling” are just a few of the songs to be presented by Nancy and company on this very special night.
Elegant Ellington…. Elegant Harms. “Ellington At Night”.
Presentation created and produced by Nancy Harms and Arne Fogel
In a relatively short time, Nancy Harms has distinguished herself as one of the most uniquely gifted young jazz vocalists on the East Coast. Born and raised in the tiny Midwestern town of Clara City, Minnesota, Nancy had no exposure to jazz as a child, no connections to the music via family or education. Though she was singing for small public gatherings by the age of four, it wasn’t until attending Concordia College in Moorhead, MN that Harms discovered jazz.
Though this discovery would change her life, Nancy made no immediate decision to pursue a jazz-performing career after college. Instead, she taught elementary music in another small Minnesota town for a few years; a move that was more along the lines of what was expected of a girl from Clara City. Nancy ultimately became disillusioned and discontented, however, and within her grew the conviction that another kind of musical life was awaiting her. She followed her instinct and her passion, left her teaching career, and moved to Minneapolis in 2006.
Nancy immersed herself in Minneapolis-St. Paul’s local jazz scene, and by early 2007, people in the community were taking notice. In the most positive sense, no one had ever seen or heard anyone quite like Nancy before: She possessed a stateliness that was unmistakable, yet she was totally unpretentious in manner. She sang ballads with a folk-like, delicate, ethereal quality and a marvelous way of digging deep into the layers of lyrical meaning. Initially, her most noteworthy attribute from a jazz perspective was her sense of time: She clearly possessed a natural gift for phrasing and an innate sense of swing. Of no small importance to her growing popularity as well was the fact that she was uniquely beautiful, in both sound and appearance.
Nancy learned fast over the next three and a half years, honing her style and developing her chops. Before long, she was a major Twin Cities jazz attraction, regularly working in major jazz clubs and concerts, earning terrific reviews and critic’s accolades. In 2009 she released “IN THE INDIGO”, her first CD, and Minnesota’s most popular and highly acclaimed jazz vocal release of that year.
Nancy’s career in NYC began with a sold-out appearance in the summer of 2010 at the “Bar Next Door” on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, with classy accompaniment by former Minnesotan Michael O’Brien on bass and NY guitar legend Paul Bollenback. Observable at this or any other engagement since is Harms’ highly original physical presence; always in motion, yet always in service of the music and telling the story. The beautiful face is animated, but not overly so. There is mystery there, with abundant smiles and good humor, but the occasional flash of something untold; a sudden downward tightening of the mouth and far-away focus of the eyes… She seems to draw upon a passing sense-memory to more effectively convey the feeling of the lyric. Often, it’s a sense of hurt, or the pain of long ago; artfully intermingling with the good humor and inviting warmth of Nancy’s overall persona.
Nancy’s dedication to jazz is complete. She is abundantly gifted, and her interpretations reveal her to be a fine actor as well, as she possesses a natural ability to movingly express the meaning of any song. A gifted jazz specialist and an intuitively brilliant interpretive artist.
Her first CD “In The Indigo” put her on 140 radio and cable outlets in dozens of markets, and top sales on the CDBaby Jazz vocal chart. The CD received national airplay on “PRI’s “JAZZ AFTER HOURS”, NPR, THE PENTHOUSE RADIO NETWORK, and MUSIC CHOICE via satellite, cable and internet. Nancy’s follow-up disc, “Dreams In Apartments”, was even more successful, airing on the above (and other) sources, including Jonathan Schwartz’s broadcasts, and on the PopJazzRadio.com channel which placed one of Nancy’s original songs, “Weight Of The World”, in the #1 position on two separate occasions with over 44,000 votes from fans. Nancy went on to celebrate the release of “Dreams In Apartments” at New York City’s venerable BIRDLAND, as well as to share the album’s success with audiences in Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Oslo, and Paris.
Nancy Harms: Beautiful, unique, and exquisitely talented. A truly charismatic, one-of-a-kind performer.