Jazz Vocal Artist, Improviser, Composer, Lyricist, Poet, Actor
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A unique and original singer and an important force in the advanced New York jazz scene, McCarthy’s musical roots run deep. Her burnished alto voice is rich with a distinctive style that cuts a broad swath from soul, rhythm & blues, jazz, Bebop, post-bop, and the free, avant-garde idioms but her sound is reminiscent of the great voices and horns in jazz.
"NORA McCARTHY! If I was a religious man, I would say "Yes indeed, the Lord has risen!" and "Amen To That"!!
There are a number of gifted Jazz singers on this planet, but few truly sing from the soul, as Ms. Nora McCarthy!
Talk about conviction! Talk about a beautiful, original vocal instrument!
Talk about fire in the belly, but a gentility of subtle nuance. This defines Nora. She's also not afraid to take a risk, explore human emotions that are real and not contrived." Steve Getz, Music Director/Talent Buyer and record producer, son of legendary tenor saxophonist, Stan Getz.
"To Be with You" is an example of the Collective's commitment to traditional songs in the Afro-Caribbean tradition. Known as the "all-time classic Latin soul ballad," the tune was written in early 1950s by Nick Jimenez and Willie Torres, the team responsible for composing some of the first Latin dance music in English. A luminous ballad that's spacious and romantic, the piece provides a magnificent vehicle for McCarthy. One of her strengths is the ability to interpret lyrics, and here her phrasing is exquisite, locating the direct heart of the song's passionate longing. The rest of the group plays with the most delicate touch, taking the tune at a slow, measured pace as the tender emotions unfold and deepen. Mention must be made of Sylvester's long, gorgeous solo, an intertwining of soul and delicacy that's beautifully executed. There's also fine work by Sylvester and Ricks behind McCarthy's lyrics, again demonstrating the two players' in-tandem strength; it's always a pleasure to hear these two intertwine. This album is about spirit of all kinds, and "To Be with You" offers a reminder that the highest romantic love is driven by spirit as well. - By FLORENCE WETZEL
JAZZ INSIDE MAGAZINE
"WAY BEYOND VOCALIST"
"What has impressed me about Nora McCarthy is that she
is much more than a jazz vocalist—or specifically, a female jazz vocalist. She is a singer, she plays piano, she composes music and write lyrics—comprehensive artistry in the grand tradition of someone like Carmen McRae or Betty Carter." Eric Nemeyer, Publisher of Jazz Inside Magazine
A live clip of a performance at Joe's Pub w/Bernard Purdie and David Haney, Steve Swell, Adam Lane, Yael Archer - Jazz Stories - (Improv - the great ANNIE ROSS' story, in her interview for Cadence, reenacted by Nora McCarthy who then sang "Doodlin' in her honor.....and more improv with the band - good listen.
"BEST JAZZ OF 2016
SINGER AND VOCAL JAZZ CD
JAZZ STATION AWARD"
By: Arnaldo DeSouteiro
“On Sylvester’s “Akara Moi Moi”, McCarthy scats over pulsing changes and rhythm. McCarthy wrote four of the compositions and most of the lyrics, including for songs by some of the masters of the music. One of the pleasures of the album is hearing how McCarthy negotiates the lyrics she’s written and how she integrates them into the overall sound. She laughingly suggested at the release concert that Ornette Coleman is “not gone but rather looking lovingly at all of us.” She then performed his “The Blessing”, infused with loving lyrics and graceful wordless vocalizing, which led into passionate and harmonically apposite solos by Sylvester, Vergara and electric bassist Gene Torres, subbing for Nicks. And then came a ritualistic “Passion Dance”, a McCoy Tyner gem, with fiery burning rhythmic intros from piano, bass and drums and then horn-like, rapid-fire singing and joyous scatting.” Donald Elfman
SEPTEMBER 2016 | THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD