Nancy Wilson

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About Nancy Wilson

Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1937, Nancy Wilson built a lengthy career by casually bridging the worlds of jazz, pop, and R&B. After a year in college, she signed on as a singer with Rusty Bryant’s Carolyn Club Big Band in 1956, releasing her first record during a stint lasting until 1958. During this period she met saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, who suggested that she move to New York City. Her debut single, “Guess Who I Saw Today,” initiated a run of five albums for Capitol heavy on standards, including the eponymous 1962 classic with Adderley, and a smash R&B hit, “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am,” in 1964. She appeared frequently on TV, culminating in her own variety show in 1967, for which she won an Emmy. Wilson continued her dual career as actor and singer, tilting toward mainstream jazz; in the 2000s her accolades included honors from the NAACP and Oprah Winfrey. Following a long illness, Wilson passed away in 2018.

Chillicothe, OH, United States
February 20, 1937
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