Jazz and Blues Vocalist Kim Nalley Performs at Feinstein's at the Nikko Tonight
Called "legendary" and a "San Francisco institution," Feinstein's at the Nikko welcomes jazz and blues vocalist, Kim Nalley, for one performance only - tonight, May 10 (7 p.m.). With an international reputation as one of world's best jazz and blues vocalists, Nalley has graced concert halls from Moscow to Lincoln Center. A true Renaissance woman, Kim Nalley has also been a featured writer for JazzWest and San Francisco Chronicle's "City Brights," shortlisted for a Grammy nomination, a produced playwright, a former jazz club owner, an accomplished stage actress, a history academic, and an avid lindy hop & blues dancer. Her many philanthropic endeavors include founding the Kim Nalley Black Youth Jazz Scholarship.
Located within Hotel Nikko (222 Mason Street, San Francisco), Feinstein's at the Nikko presents a wide range of entertainers from stage and screen all within an intimate 140-seat cabaret setting. There is a $20 food and beverage minimum per person inside the showroom which guests can use towards cocktails as well as a variety of small plates crafted exclusively for Feinstein's at the Nikko by Executive Chef Philippe Striffeler, through Restaurant Anzu. Cheese and dessert platters will also be available in the showroom.
In looks, Kim Nalley exudes the aura of a diva from a by-gone era. Vocally, she has pipes to burn packing a 3 ½ octave range that can go from operatic to gritty blues on a dime, projection that can whisper a ballad yet is capable of filling a room with no microphone, and the ability to scat blistering solos without ever losing the crowd's interest or the intense swing. She has been compared to all the greats, but in the end, it is Kim Nalley and no one else - an unforced instrument with clarity and jazzy musicality, effortlessly delivered, and a sense of humor to boot.
A born singer from a family that boasts several generations of jazz musicians, Nalley was taught piano by her great-grandmother and studied classical music and theatre in high school before relocating to San Francisco in the footsteps of the Grateful Dead. Working her way through college by singing in small dives and jam sessions, Nalley learned all of the intricacies of jazz the old fashioned way. Music critic Phil Elwood and San Francisco Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas quickly discovered Kim Nalley and brought her to national attention after they noticed her singing nightly at the Alta Plaza to packed audiences - without amplification. Tilson Thomas hired Kim Nalley to sing a program of Gershwin with the San Francisco Symphony and recorded her farewell concert at the Alta Plaza.
Since then, Kim Nalley has performed globally, including major jazz festivals such as Monterey, Umbria Jazz and Lincoln Center and lived in Europe for several years before returning to San Francisco to re-open the jazz club Jazz at Pearl's. During her tenure from 2003 to 2008, Nalley raised the club to iconic international acclaim as the owner and artistic director.
She has collaborated with artists such as Rhoda Scott, David "Fathead" Newman, Houston Person, James Williams, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. She has recorded several on both major and indie labels, including She Put A Spell On Me, which was short-listed for a 2006 Grammy Award, and Million Dollar Secret, which charted in the Jazz Top 40.
Nalley often combines music and history to create historiographical concerts, including her award-winning Ladies Sing the Blues, She Put a Spell on Me: Tribute to Nina Simone, the multimedia presentation Black History Month Concert Series and The Heart of Lady Day, a Billie Holiday biopic. As a playwright she has written Ella: the American Dream, a bio-musical about Ella Fitzgerald which premiered in 2008. As an actress she portrayed Billie Holiday in the dramatic play Lady Day in Love, Blues Speak woman in Zora Neale Hurston's Spunk and has starred in Teatro Zinzanni as Madame Zinzanni, a role subsequently filled by Joan Baez and Sandra Reeves-Phillips.
Kim Nalley is on faculty at the Jazzschool's Bachelor's of Music program. She is also a history student in UC Berkeley's PhD program with plans to write her dissertation on the Globalization of Jazz and Black Cultural Politics.
Guests of Feinstein's at the Nikko can enjoy a variety of food and beverage options before performances. Kanpai Lounge, located in Hotel Nikko's lobby, offers light cuisine, a full bar and specialty cocktails. Restaurant Anzu, Hotel Nikko's intimate restaurant located on the second floor, serves sustainable California cuisine enhanced with Asian flavors. Restaurant Anzu will also offer Feinstein's at the Nikko guests a special three-course prix-fixe dinner ($45 per person) prior to all performances. Reservations can be made by calling (415) 394-1100.
For additional information on Kim Nalley, visit: www.kimnalley.net. For additional information on Feinstein's at the Nikko, visit: www.hotelnikkosf.com/feinsteins. For Hotel Nikko San Francisco room specials, visit www.hotelnikkosf.com. Code: FEIN.
ABOUT MICHAEL FEINSTEIN: The two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated Michael Feinstein is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace. More than simply a performer, Feinstein has received national recognition for his commitment to celebrating America's popular songbook and preserving its legacy for the next generation.
ABOUT THE MICHAEL FEINSTEIN GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK INITIATIVE: Founded in 2007, The Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative is dedicated to increasing the appreciation for the Great American Songbook and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Vocal Academy and Competition, which awards scholarships and prizes to students across the country.