The Nearness of You
is the debut recording of South Florida based singer Nicole Henry. Henry’s voice exudes a positive, upbeat attitude with a light, bright and sometimes sexy, breathy quality. She sounds like a singer who really enjoys what she is singing and enjoys singing for an audience. She demonstrates ease at delivering a song with a certain panache that makes each song a very joyful and individual statement. The recording consists of standards from the Great American Song Book and "newer" standards by Brenda Russell and John Lennon. Henry is accompanied by a very tight and swinging jazz trio led by pianist arranger Mike Orta.
The CD kicks off with a very enjoyable and upbeat version of George Gershwin’s "Summertime," Jerome Kern’s "Cant’ Help Lovin’ Dat Man of Mine," and Harold Arlen’s "Old Black Magic," before Nicole settles in with a beautiful rendition of "The Nearness of You," the title cut of the CD. On this song, Henry’s voice has a unique crackle that comes across as a truly pure sincere delivery of the lyric. One has the impression the listener IS her lover and she is singing directly to the listener! She does a version of "Fly Me To The Moon," that could give Frank Sinatra’s a run for its money, and her rendition of Cole Porter’s "You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To," further demonstrates Henry’s and her backing trio’s ability to swing and swing hard. The inclusion of Bobby Troup’s "You’re Looking At Me" is a welcome one and a beautiful reminder that he wrote more than just "Girl Talk," and "Route 66." Perhaps the most outstanding cut on the CD is the samba version of Harold Arlen’s "Somewhere Over Rainbow." Henry’s version is so unique it definitely informs the listener "we aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto." The concluding track on the CD is a nicely warm version of John Lennon’s "Imagine." With its lyric touting universal love, it isn’t unlikely this song could become a "standard" some day.
Nicole Henry is an extremely talented young singer with a unique and stirring voice. The Nearness of You
is a highly recommended addition to a jazz CD collection and from evidence of what one hear on this CD, there will hopefully be many great things that the world will yet hear from Nicole Henry.