Nancy Lane,
Let Me Love You
(independent, 2015)

When Nancy Lane was a 10-year-old girl growing up in Montreal, her dance teacher allowed students to perform an improvised dance to the music of their choice. Instead of some Beatles or Stones song, Lane chose Stan Getz's "Reflections," a jazz instrumental.

That choice might have seemed whimsical, but it was one that carried a lot of meaning for her. Her aunt was a jazz musician and her father played the sax. Her brother ran a record store in Montreal, introducing her to the jazz artists of the day.

Falling in love with jazz singing, she studied and sang all her life. At 28, a sound engineering student recorded her as a part of his final exam and, without telling her, entered the tape in DownBeat's student magazine competition. She won the best vocal control category.

And now her first album, Let Me Love You, has arrived, and let me alert you, it is a good one. Lane has an original way with a song, and is most at home with ballad standards like "Cry Me a River." Her voice is as pretty as a Wyeth painting and as flexible as silly putty, with which it has in common the factor that it can take any shape and any form without strain.

In an uptempo song like "Everything I've Got Belongs to You," she can come across as sounding like Nancy Wilson, but for the most part, she has grown past her influences and become her own woman.

It's funny how, for a man who used to have an irrational prejudice against vocal jazz, I'm finding that prejudice crumbling because of singers like Nancy Lane.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

12 March 2016

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