Nancy Donnelly
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Nancy Donnelly

Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter


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"Nancy Donnelly CD Review A Greater Love"

By John Gilbert

Nancy Donnelly is the possessor of a finely textured voice that adapts
itself nicely to the jazz idiom. She has selected standards that
showcase her vocal artistry in the best light.
The following tunes were selected to illustrate her intuitive jazz

"Crazy He Calls Me" This ballad suits the style of Donnelly in a grand
manner as she treats the lyrics gracefully and with passion. The
ensemble accompaniment is apropos to the message of the song.

A bass intro introduces "Alone Together" and Nancy Donnelly takes care
of business thereafter with some inventive scatting.

This album features Nancy Donnelly at her best on the ballads with fine
backing by her trio.
4 Stars

- EJazz News

"Nancy Donnelly Live Performance"

It's always a special pleasure the first time one gets to see & hear a vocalist one finds especially appealing. Saturday night, November 8 at One Caroline, an upscale Restaurant/Jazz club in Saratoga, NY, was one such moment for me. The Peg Delaney (piano) trio, which included Bill Delaney on bass performed very well with Nancy Donnelly. Some of the things I enjoyed about the performance included:
- Although she wisely chose to focus on medium & uptempo numbers due to the noise level
of the packed house, she had the poise to not stridently "over-sing" to ensure she was heard, as I've
seen some others do.
- Even though she's clearly listened to the "Jazz Masters", her basic sound came across as fresh, as I
didn't hear any other particular singers dominating her delivery or style.
- Her phrasing, while very interesting & swinging, was consistently pleasing melodically.
- She had that seemingly contradictory (but essential) quality for engaging singing - "relaxed intensity".
An interesting indication of how quickly her vocals captured the listeners was the fact that the owner asked her after the first two numbers to lay out for a while, as too many early diners were lingering after their meals to hear her & delaying others (like myself) waiting for tables.
Tom Pierce. - Tom Pierce

"A Greater Love CD Review"

A very welcome newcomer to the ranks of jazz singers, Nancy Donnelly has performed extensively in Boston, New York and surrounding areas but is as yet little known outside the USA. This CD, her first release, should change all that. Accompanied by the fine trio of pianist Peggy Stern, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Matt Wilson, Nancy swings admirably through a selection of original material (by Nancy and Peggy) and familiar standards, although none of these is overused and hence contribute to the overall feeling of freshness. Melodic and accurate, Nancy's singing voice is always a delight to hear and she interprets ballads with introspective warmth, while on the mid-tempo pieces she swings with seemingly effortless ease. If you didn't know this was a debut, you would certainly not guess. This is a singer with full and justified confidence in her ability and one well worth getting to know. - Bruce Crowther, jazz journalist

"CD Review "A Greater Love"

Nancy Donnelly has a warm and appealing voice, swings comfortably and displays a flexible style. On A Greater Love, she performs six standards, using subtle improvising while mostly sticking close to the melodies and lyrics. She also sings two of her own originals ("Why Can't It Be" which is a call for tolerance and "No Greater Love") plus Peggy Stern's haunting "New Rain" and "Lost In Loving You." Nancy Donnelly scats occasionally and it sounds like a natural extension of her melodic style. Accompanied by the Peggy Stern Trio (with altoist Jack Ryan guesting on "Why Can't It Be"), Nancy Donnelly is in fine form for her debut recording which is worth exploring.
- All Music Guide By Scott Yanow

"CD Review "A Greater Love"

For her recording debut, vocalist Nancy Donnelly comes prepared with the exceptional trio of pianist Peggy Stern, bassist Jay Anderson, and drummer Matt Wilson. Altoist Jack Ryan appears on only one track, contributing a tart solo on Donnelly's original “Why Can't It Be?” The leader delivers these tunes in a bright manner that is reminiscent of the quintessential 1950s femme vocalists. She does well with both ballads and uptempo tunes.
Originally from Kingston, New York, Nancy Donnelly has her parents to thank for an exposure to a wide variety of music. She studied classical voice at an early age and graduated from the Crane School of Music. She then moved to Boston to attend the Boston Conservatory of Music and studied jazz theory and improvisation with Jerry Bergonzi. After moving to New York, she has worked with Joe Locke, Roswell Rudd, Bob Moses and Peggy Stern.

The opener, Bernice Petkere's “Close Your Eyes,” is taken at a faster tempo than usual. On Thad Jones' jazz standard “A Child is Born,” she lends improvisation to the second chorus. The Kern/Mercer standard “Dearly Beloved” is played way uptempo with a Latin tinge. The Russell/Sigmund “Crazy He Calls Me” is given a nice and smoky cabaret ballad treatment.

Jay Anderson starts off the Schwartz/Dietz tune “Alone Together” with a brief bass statement, and then Donnelly takes it out for a ride with a pleasant scat solo. She saves the best for last. The Rainger/Leo standard “If I Should Lose You” was made for a jazz vocalist, and Nancy Donnelly proves up to the task. Taking the piece at a midtempo pace, Donnelly uses the same technique as with “A Child is Born,” applying jazz phrasing on the second and third chorus to the timeless melody; she also provides a scat solo set against Peggy Stern's piano.

Donnelly wisely varies the pacing of the album so that no two successive songs are at the same tempo, with one exception. Three songs, all originals, flow well together at the same midtempo pace: Donnelly's “No Greater Love, Kurt Nurock/C.J.Ellis' “Lost Is Loving You” and Peggy Stern's “New Rain.” The technique works because it makes the listener pay more attention to these tunes than if they were presented separately.

Track listing: Close Your Eyes, A Child is Born, Why Can't It Be?, Dearly Beloved, Crazy He Calls Me, No Greater Love, Lost In Loving You, New Rain, Alone Together, If I Should Lose You.

Personnel: Nancy Donnelly: vocals; Peggy Stern: piano; Jay Anderson: bass; Matt Wilson: drums and percussion; Jack Ryan: alto saxophone on track(3).
- All About Jazz by Michael P. Gladstone

"CD Review "A Greater Love"

Vocal jazz songstress Nancy Donnelly is proud to release her debut album “A Greater Love”. Well dust off the pedestal folks as this is one fine display of everything that we’ve come to love as jazz. Her vocals are deep and have a range that most lounge singers would die for. She’s played at the Iridium in New York where I personally have seen the great legendary Les Paul perform twice. Snap your fingers to this funky rhythm with bulky helpings of dynamite vocals. Nancy, you’re a doll!

- J-Sin
- Smother Magazine - J. Sin

"A Greater Love- CD Review"

This Woodstock resident has cultivated a classic jazz performance for her latest offering. With a sassy style reminiscent of Sarah Vaughn, Nancy Donnelly's smooth and smoldering vocals are matched with a band that can shift from standard to eccentric without double clutching. Their interactions are silky and clean. A Greater Love features pianist Peggy Stern, bassist Jay Anderson, drummer Matt Wilson, and saxophonist Jack Ryon. On the first track, "Close Your Eyes," a romantic uptempo lounge tune, Donnelly's seductive voice pulls you into a Latin-influenced lullaby. Romance is on the menu here and creates the perfect stage for the singer to act out her dreamy passion play. Donnelly wrote and arranged the complex instrumental "Why Can't It Be?," which begins on uncertain feet but quickly finds a solid groove and swings. She shows her versatility on "Alone Together" with a righteous scat-singing performance. Local jazz fans should check Donnelly's calendar of upcoming appearances at, as well as for clips from A Greater Love.

- J. Spica - The Chronogram J. Spica


A Greater Love - 2006



“Nancy Donnelly is an exciting singer whose voice is nestled nicely somewhere in between jazz and soul– a rich, warm and powerful sound” Peter Eldridge (New York Voices).

Nancy’s ability to blend a spectrum of musical styles is attributed to her wide array of musical influences and experience. Nancy began training as a classical vocalist at a young age. Upon graduating form the “Crane School of Music”, Nancy moved to Boston to further pursue her musical studies. While in Boston, she had the opportunity to work with several Blues, and R&B groups. Nancy realized her true passion for jazz when she performed with Russian saxophonist Igor Butman.

Nancy then moved to New York, where she played in many of the cities famous jazz clubs, such as the The Village Gate, Iridium, and Birdland. Nancy has had the pleasure of performing with Peggy Stern, Harvie S., Mike Clark, Joe Locke, Roswell Rudd, Bob Moses, Mike DeMicco to name a few.

Currently living in the Hudson Valley, Nancy is releasing her debut CD, A Greater Love. This recording is a combination of originals, standard repertoire, and lesser known compositions, beautifully arranged and
accompanied by pianist Peggy Stern, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Matt Wilson with Jack Ryon on alto saxophone.

“Stern has her own voice -- she extracts a lovely timbre from the piano...refusing to waste notes" - Jazziz Magazine

“Audiences love Matt Wilson, easily one of the best drummers of his generation”.- New York Times

“Jay Anderson is a flawless bassist and a fleet full toned soloist an uncommonly mobile bassist.”- Leonard Feather,LA Times