If I Ruled The Worlds - Stephanie Nakasian

One of the top female jazz singers of the past 30 years, Stephanie Nakasian gained important experience singing vocalese with the legendary Jon Hendricks during 1983-84. Since then she has often teamed up with her husband pianist Hod O’Brien, worked with such notables as Phil Woods, Bob Dorough, Dick Hyman and Jim Cullum, and led her own groups. Equally skilled at scatting and caressing ballads, Ms. Nakasian is a consistently colorful and creative singer who always swings.

Stephanie Nakasian is heard at the peak of her powers throughout If I Ruled The World.  Joined by a quintet that includes O’Brien, guitarist Vic Juris, and Mark Kirk on alto and soprano, she performs such songs as a scat-filled version of “Almost In Your Arms” an emotional “Too Many Tears,” a soulful “You Ain't Had The Blues,” a rapid “Who Cares,” and a medley of “Blizzard Of Lies” and “Little White Lies.” This is Stephanie Nakasian at her very best.

SKU: IC1006

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Almost in Your Arms Too Many Tears I'm All Smiles When Your Lover Has Gone By Myself You Ain't Had the Blues A Second Chance Blizzard of Lies - Little White Lies If I Ruled the World The Moth and the Flame (You May Not Be An Angel But) I'll String Along With You Love Is Just Around the Corner Who Cares?

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Stephanie Nakasian
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Mark Kirk on alto & soprano sax, Steve Gilmore on bass, Hod O'Brien on piano, Vic Juris on guitars, and Bill Goodwin on drums
SKU IC1006


Customer Reviews (2)

As Classy As It Gets!Review by Big Toots
IC 1006 If I Ruled the World Stephanie Nakasian

“If I ruled the world” is a lyric that has always evoked a quizzical reaction from me, ever since I heard Tony Bennett first sing it back in the 60s (He revived it again on his “Duets” album, singing it with Celine Dion). The tune originated in a British play, “Pickwick,” wherein a politician up for election pontificates. Well, if vocalist Stephanie Nakasian were up for a Grammy, president, or world-ruler, after hearing this gem of a recording, she’d not only get my vote, but, as far as I’m concerned, she can rule as she wishes. The recording is dynamite and your “Play” button is the match.

Offering a baker’s dozen impeccably chosen and brilliantly presented selections, Nakasian once again proves that she is a songstress of immense talent and taste. A former Wall Street biggie, Nakasian, to our great appreciation, canned the pin-stripes, joined forces with her similarly talented husband, Hod O’Brien, and the rest is – well, if it’s not history, it’s certainly fantastic music for us in which to revel.

Right off the bat, Nakasian’s vocal approach here obviously shades Ella, especially with those trademark Fitzgerald melodic embellishments (appoggiaturas, for you professor types) (“Almost in Your Arms”). Her pitch sense, irrespective of tempo or texture, is pin-point perfect (another Ella trademark). And, if that isn’t enough, her scatting … you get the idea. Stephanie can swing hard (“If I Ruled the World”) and she can work a lyric dry, deriving maximum emotion from a ballad line, as well (“Too Many Tears,” a darker, Sarah Vaughan-like take on “When Your Lover Has Gone,” “Second Chance”).

A word about the material here; it’s yet another indication of Nakasian’s and O’Brien’s superb musical taste. They’ve pulled out some marvelous lesser-known selections and have breathed incredible life into them (“By Myself,” “Ill String Along With You”). The repertoire is A-1.

Hod O’Brien (an incredibly underrated artist) and his team are brilliant in framing Nakasian whether accompanying or soloing. Guitarist Vic Juris, always a superb player, is on his game here. Steve Gilmore’s bass and Bill Goodwin’s drum work are ideal. Saxophone star Mark Kirk stretches out and is a cooker.

“If I Ruled the World” is a knockout recording from the get-go to get-gone. Ms. Nakasian is the rarest of vocalists who could probably sing election tallies and make them sound superb. We have a winner!
(Posted on 5/13/2015)
Stephanie NakasianReview 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 5/6/2014)

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