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Nancy Donnelly

Albany, NY
August 14, 2009

by Tom Pierce

I enjoyed a very professionally executed set Friday night at Justins, by singer Nancy Donnelly, from Kingston, NY, who I met a number of years ago through the Songbirds web site. She was supported in buoyantly uplifting fashion by the swinging trio of pianist Peter Tomlinson from the mid-Hudson region, and two veteran, well-respected Albany area rhythm section stalwarts, Otto Gardner on bass and Hal Miller on drums.

Nancy's vibrant, but melodic phrasing, resonantly pleasing tone and strong attack was further aided by a sense of conviction and warmth, mirroring her naturally friendly and energetic personality. Her performance clearly reflected how deeply she loves the tradition of Jazz coupled with the Great American Songbook. Additionally, she kept the set interesting by varying the tempos and moods, as she wisely chose a set-list of standards (see below) that effectively included the “Four B's” - Ballads, Blues, Be-Bop & Bossas. This all resulted in the audience consistently responding with the close attention and applause she and the trio deserved.

“There'll Never be Another You”
“No More Blues”
“I Thought About You”
“Everyday (I Have the Blues)”
“How Deep is the Ocean”
“On the Street Where You Live”
“How High the Moon”

The evening was also rewarding for me because I hadn't heard her live since her November, 2003 engagement with the Peggy Delaney Trio at One Caroline in Saratoga. As pleasing as that event was, her performance at Justins demonstrated her hard work & continued musical growth since then.

Tom Pierce has had a burning passion for Jazz for over 45 years, initiated and fueled by seeing live in New York City, starting in the early 1960's, virtually every major artist still performing. He's been very happily living in Guilderland the last 8 years, as an active retiree sharing his love of music by writing online reviews for a number of web sites, preparing DVD presentations to various groups, co-Hosting Radio programs showcasing his favorite artists and busily supporting A Place for Jazz and the SwingTime Society in a variety of ways.