“Nancy Ruth, a powerful and talented singer, combines together jazz, flamenco and Latin rhythms in a natural way, creating a fresh genre that fits into all three idioms.”
– Scott Yanow, Los Angeles Jazz Scene
NEW REVIEW from Australian Jazz (AustralianJazz.net)
Nancy Ruth wants you to taste her ‘Sangria Jam’
By Nikos Fotakis on Friday, February 2, 2018
Nancy Ruth does not waste any time. Even when she’s at her most relaxed, introvert state, she sings with a particular kind of urgency, making sure that her audience does not miss out on her life-affirming message. With every little breath she takes – barely audible as it may be – before she delivers a typically impeccable musical phrase, she seems to be sucking the marrow out of life, making each song into a celebration of being and of passionately embracing the whole range of human emotions and experience.
This may have to do with her personal journey from her native Canada to Spain and her adopted hometown, Malaga. To say that the bright Spanish sun and the Mediterranean sea breeze have affected her approach to music-making would be an understatement.
A classically trained pianist, and a singer of impressive vocal range, she cut her teeth as a performer singing in rock bands in Canada, before delving into jazz, thus finding her voice as a singer and pianist with a penchant for lyricism, a natural sense of swing and a love for latin rhythms. Her 2004 album, ‘It’s Got to Be Love’ found her singing a series of well-known and beloved standards, with a deceptive breeziness, delivering the lyrics as if every word was part of her intimate diary. Once in Malaga, she used the same approach to blend jazz with flamenco, in a vivid celebration of life.
There is a gem of a video in Nancy Ruth’s Youtube channel, in which the singer makes a home visit to a friend, who cooks for her a traditional paella. The video is a step-by-step tutorial on the dish, offering much more than a recipe; it is a celebration of each ingredient and its significance as it blends with the others to create a unique taste; it is also a celebration of friendship and hospitality, of people coming together to connect through a feast. This video does not just offer rare insight into Spanish culture, but it is a perfect allegory of Nancy Ruth’s own music-making, of the way she combines different elements – her classical training, her dramatic flair, her adventurous spirit, her sense of ‘duende’ – to create a sound where genres such as pop, jazz, flamenco and latin co-exist and dissolve into each other. In the end, what she has created, is a genre tailor-made to best allow her narrate her stories, reflecting her own personal journey.
Her latest venture, ‘Sangria Jam’, captures Nancy Ruth at her best. In a way, the album is a status update for her, a collection of songs describing her life in Malaga, how she absorbs the energy of the place to return it to the community through her music. It is also a perfect example of the way she balances two traditions – jazz and flamenco – passing them both through a pop prism, without worrying to adhere too much to any of them. The only thing she cares about, is to stay true to her own passion – and that oozes out of every song.
Recent press ... 2017/ 2018 tours in Spain, Latin America and Australia
Nancy Ruth's song 'Llórame' will be featured on the soundtrack of the new film 'La Ley Del Embudo', in theatres soon:
Los Angeles Jazz Scene Review of Nancy Ruth's Latest Album, Sangria Jam:
Nancy Ruth is a talented and powerful singer who was born and raised in Canada. Always a lover of both flamenco music and jazz, she moved to Spain in 2001. On Sangria Jam, she combines together jazz, flamenco and Latin rhythms in a natural way, creating a fresh genre that fits into all three idioms.
Ms. Ruth (who sometimes utilizes overdubbing so as to have multiple voices on the catchier refrains), while generally in the lead, often functions as part of the ensemble. She wrote all 11 selections and her spirited music, while exploring several moods, has a consistently celebratory feel. Some selections have the singer, who also plays piano on four pieces, in a quartet with guitarist Luis Robisco, bassist Juan Soto and percussionist Juan Heredia. There are also significant appearances by Manuel Olmo on soprano, tenor and flute and Victor Vallejo on piano and trumpet with pianist Jean Louis Van Dam being prominent on “Soar.”
Nancy Ruth’s lyrics discuss such topics as the happiness of coming home (“Malaga”), the joy of taking chances (“Soar”), romance (the haunting ballad “Llorame”), and the difficulties of settling down (“Buleria #1”). “Jasmine Tree,” after some beautiful solo flamenco guitar by Luis Robisco (who is a major asset throughout the CD), is rhythmically exciting. “Beauty In The Ruins” features some warm long notes by the singer near its conclusion. “I Once Said I’d Stay” (about taking a chance on giving up everything for love) precedes the most stirring piece, “Temporary Home.” The passionate rhythms, Olmo’s heated soprano and the intense singing make this performance particularly memorable. The exhilarating “Wild Imagination” and the witty “Yellow Veranda” (about food and potential love) conclude the enjoyable set.
All in all, this is an impressive effort by Nancy Ruth that is difficult to categorize as anything but joyful and creative music.
-Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Jazz Singers, The Great Jazz Guitarists and Jazz On Film 1917-76
Feature Piece on Nancy Ruth's Sangria Jam in Cadence Magazine
NANCY RUTH SANGRIA JAM (2016 SELF) The core of music is like a new road open to you; you do not know where it leads but travel it well with respect, for the destination is up to you alone. With memories and love attached to each note, music is the one journal of your trip through life that is allowed to exhume romantic and living emotions with the touch of a single chord. This occurs when the music sheets and arrangements become the second-class citizen and the heart becomes center stage for the artist. Many times this is defined as the “Feel” of the artist but it also through the archives of jazz history known as the “Jam.”
There is no other exciting occurrence on stage than that of a collection or artists just going with the sound and letting it take them to parts unknown. This is the quest Canadian born vocalist Nancy Ruth took and conquered with the weapons of her heart, soul, and memories; newly sharpened, to take the journey towards the Sangria Jam. When I asked Ms. Ruth about her new project and what influenced her, she expressed it in this fashion, “My main inspiration for the Sangria Jam CD was my 15 years of living in Malaga Spain; learning the culture in all its beauty and ‘picaresca’”… Ms. Ruth further elaborated, “I came here alone, with no money, job, contacts or ambitions, other than to find my own voice. I think the lyrics to ‘Temporary Home’ and ‘Beauty in the Ruins’ best describe some of my experiences, as well as ‘Jasmine Tree’…. It’s been a huge adventure, following my instincts, all logic tossed aside.”
Ms. Ruth, the sultry “Flamenco Echo” has her roots firmly embedded in the jazz culture and branches off to the flamenco and Latin stylings with deep insight and innovation. Sangria Jam is encased in originals, with music and lyrics by Ms. Ruth herself, thus expressing her past transformation and relocation to a whole new existence in Spain. Through out time jazz has had many relationships with other styles of music but none so endearing as with flamenco. Ms. Ruth expounds on this with her passion and bringing the two together adding to the historic romance.
In the fourth cut Buleria #1 the beat the ivories project from the start come at you with a fever pitch just igniting the fire in the belly. The first chorus comes in on a cloud but the ignition of the flamenco style just upped the octane of the listeners driven soul with ivories and skins afire. Your passions will be driven by a thousand nails, as you fall into this well constructed vibrant echo called Temporary Home, the ninth cut on this spin. Written by Ms. Ruth, The solo string manipulation of guitarist Luis Robisco is outstanding and then after a well scripted chorus, the sizzling sax solo of Manuel Olmo just drives the cut into a new and exciting dimension which exits the piece with ones heart is still beating full speed.
The nucleus of Sangria Jam is the pulse of Ms. Ruth with her past meeting the present in body and soul. The foundation is her Canadian roots seeded in a little log cabin to the adventure she undertook back to her homeland of Spain. There Ms. Ruth found solace in her spirit and music, which together inspired her melodic and lyrical gifts. The project takes the listener to all compass points of her voyage by blanketing them with her flamenco beat and tucking them away with her lively ballads. Sangria Jam not only designs Ms. Ruth and a global storyteller but also an innovative jazz pedagogue.
-Karl Stober, Cadence, The Independent Journal of Creative Improvised Music
Issue: http://www.cadencejazzmagazine.com/membersonly/admin/assets/CadenceApril2017%20.pdf P. 164
“An incredible voice that unravels with elegance and fluidity between jazz and flamenco”
– Déjame Soñar; Granada, Spain