Personnel: Nancy Wilson (vocals); Ben Webster (tenor saxophone); Pete Condoli, Frank Beach, Conrad Gozzo (trumpet); George Roberts, Si Zentner (trombone); Justin Gordon (flute); Emil Richards (vibraphone); Milt Raskin (piano, celeste); Jack Marshall (guitar); Joe Comfort (bass); Shelly Manne (drums).
Recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, California in May 1960. Includes liner notes by James Gavin.
Nancy Wilson was only 23 years old when this superb album was recorded, yet her soulful, distinctive alto voice sounds as seasoned and sensitive to nuance as a singer twice her age. Overshadowed by the simultaneous release of THE SWINGIN'S MUTUAL (one of Wilson's most popular jazz recordings), and overlooked in her subsequent move to the pop and R&B markets, SOMETHING WONDERFUL is a quintessential slice of Wilson's early--and arguably most significant--work.
There is a laid-back, subtle swing to the orchestral work here (courtesy of celebrated big-band arranger Billy May), and Wilson's readings of the tunes are never overpowered by bombastic playing. Even better is the inclusion of several small-ensemble cuts--like the gently grooving "I Wish You Love," and the heartbreaking story-song "Guess Who I Saw Today"--which feature Ben Webster on tenor and Jack Marshall on guitar. Through all of this, of course, Wilson's charming, seemingly off-handed delivery and blues-steeped timbre make each tune float and shimmy with grace.