Billie Remembered - Stephanie Nakasian

Stephanie Nakasian is a superb bop-oriented singer. After meeting and marrying pianist Hod O’Brien in the early 1980s, she dedicated herself to singing jazz. Since working with Jon Hendricks and Company (1983-84), she has blossomed into a very expressive singer, a colorful improviser, and an important educator.

While Stephanie Nakasian has recorded some unusual projects in her career, Billie Remembered is one of her highpoints. She brings back the music from the earliest years of Billie Holiday (1935-36), performing such numbers as “I Cried For You,” “What A Little Moonlight Can Do” and “No Regrets” in Lady Day’s early style, with arrangements that are similar to those on the classic Billie Holiday/Teddy Wilson records. The backup band, which features trumpeter Randy Sandke and tenor-saxophonist Harry Allen, is perfect for this set of classic swing music. It makes for a great tribute to Billie Holiday at the beginning of her career.

SKU: IC1004

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No Regrets Did I Remember? What a Night, What a Moon, What a Boy I Wished On the Moon I Cried For You These Foolish Things What a Little Moonlight Can Do Reaching for the Moon Too Hot For Words If You Were Mine Miss Brown To You

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Stephanie Nakasian
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer Billie Holiday
Accompanist/ Conductor pianist Hod O'Brien, tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, trumpeter Randy Sandke, alto saxophonist and clarinetist Dan Block
SKU IC1004


Customer Reviews (3)

Marvelous and Memorable!Review by Big Toots
IC 1004 Billie Remembered The Classic Songs of Billie Holiday Stephanie Nakasian

Stephanie Nakasian is arguably one of the most talented jazz vocalists walking upright. Certainly a Renaissance Lady – she’s an educator, holds an MBA degree, was a big shot on Wall Street, and, after hearing her heart, now travels the country and world singing it out. With “Billie Remembered,” Nakasian sends up homage to Lady Day and validates her own stature as a truly fine vocalist that’s a talent worthy of even wider recognition.

Covering 11 selections, well-known and otherwise, recorded by Billie, Nakasian and a swinging group of musicians (including her husband, pianist Hod O’Brien) offer yet another look back in time at the Holiday “songbook.” The effort is a dazzling display of Ms. Nakasian’s significant vocal, interpretive and artistically expressive abilities.

Understand, please, that Nakasian is her own songbird here. She wisely avoids the temptation to emulate Holiday – anyway, who could? She uses the marvelously classic material to pull every ounce of swing and taste from the melody and from its lyric content. Her voice is attractive, highly-refined, and bubbling with an innate joy of song. She loves what she’s doing and that emotion is palpable throughout. Nakasian’s rhythmic sense is perfect, doing her own treatment of that unique “beat-play” that Holiday trademarked and incorporated lavishly.

The ensemble gathered for this session is as good and swinging as it gets. They work the material in a purely “swing” way – as opposed to a more modern interpretation - which adds to the overall integrity and brilliance of the date. Pianist O’Brien is superb throughout. Trumpeter Randy Sandke, clarinetist Dan Block and tenor man, Harry Allen are an ensemble steeped in joy. The rhythm section of guitarist, Marty Grosz, bassist, Neil Miner and drummer, Chuck Riggs energize and help make this a very memorable recording.

Stephanie Nakasian’s “Billie Remembered” is a time machine that will take a listener back to a “Day” when melody, lyric and swing dominated. You’ll also relish a supremely gifted lady artist and her team as they salute one of the greatest vocal artists – male or female - in the jazz pantheon.
(Posted on 5/11/2015)
Stephanie Nakasian: Billie RememberedReview by Simon Sez
Through the decades, many singers have claimed that Billie Holiday was their inspiration and a strong influence on their singing. Well on Billie Remembered, Stephanie Nakasian goes one better by sounding exactly like Billie Holiday in her early days. It is rather amazing.
Normally Stephanie Nakasian sounds like herself but on this special project, she sings Billie Holiday’s music of the mid-1930s including “No Regrets,” “I Cried For You,” and “What A Little Moonlight Can Do.” With her husband Hod O’Brian on piano and such players as Randy Sandke and Harry Allen, this sounds like Lady Day’s recordings with Teddy Wilson. It is a very unique album.

Simon Sez: Stephanie Nakasian on Billie Remembered (IC1004) does the impossible and sounds just like Billie Holiday from her days with Teddy Wilson. (Posted on 5/7/2014)
Great singing, wonderful bandReview by PK
I'd never heard Stephanie Nakasian before this recording. After hearing her interviewed on NPR by Terry Gross, I began looking for her recordings.
This album, Billie Remembered, features the young Holiday at the beginning of her career. Her greatest songs, and best backing bands.

This is an album that I've come back to, time and again. Great singing, wonderful band and
some of the greatest Holiday songs combined to make this a five star production. (Posted on 8/16/2013)

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