Desert Island Jazz
Nancy Gilliland (2009)

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Nancy Gilliland's is another in the line of musical careers which began in or near Chicago. She began playing on the family organ tunes she had heard played by her parents ("The first song I played was Caravan"), demonstrating, even though her six-year-old legs were too short to reach the pedals, her natural gift of being able to play a tune after hearing it only once. Soon she was demonstrating organs at the local music store, on the principle that if this young girl can do it, then so can yours. Not so precocious vocally, she didn't add singing to her performances for a couple of decades.

Nancy is now a pianist-vocalist whose repertoire consists of over 1,000 tunes, mostly from the era of the Great American Songbook from the 1920s through 1940s. She regularly demonstrates them--always with the verse (she describes herself as "a verse junkie")--with emotion and sensitivity up and down the San Francisco Peninsula, from the Castro Theatre in San Francisco through The Little Fox in Redwood City to the San Jose Festival, and including a run of almost two decades at one location in Palo Alto.

Also in Palo Alto, every week in the early 1990s she sang at the Stanford Theatre with organist Larry Vannucci for audiences which over the years included entertainers such as Ruby Keeler, Alice Faye, Kitty Carlisle and Jack Lemmon, all of whom applauded Nancy's interpretations of music they had made famous. The same goes for composer David Raksin, who enthusiastically joined in Nancy's performance of his classic "Laura"--complete with seldom-heard verse, of course.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim Dindi (Reprise)
# 2 Dick Hyman Recital Odeon (Reference)
# 3 Fred Hersch Passion Flower Lotus Blossom (Nonesuch)
# 4 Dave Brubeck Private Brubeck Remembers For All We Know (Telarc)
# 5 The Boswell Sisters The Best of the Boswell Sisters It's the Girl (Chestnut)
# 6 Ella Fitzgerald Like Someone in Love More Than You Know (Verve)
# 7 Thomas "Fats" Waller The Joint Is Jumpin' Handful of Keys (Bluebird)
# 8 Bill Henderson With the Oscar Peterson Trio All or Nothing at All (Verve)
# 9 Branford Marsalis Romances for Saxophones Emmanuel (Columbia)
# 10 Blossom Dearie Jazz Masters 51 Tea for Two (Verve)
# 11 Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 Mas Que Nada (A&M)
# 12 Scott Hamilton With Strings Nancy (Concord)
Book Ayn Rand, "The Fountainhead"
Luxury Item A Bösendorfer concert grand
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