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Grammy Award winning jazz singer Nancy Wilson dies at 81

CALIFORNIA: Grammy award winning singer Nancy Wilson, 81, died peacefully at her California home Thursday after a long illness, her longtime publicist said.

The torch singer of the 1960s called herself a “song-stylist” and resisted being labeled a jazz singer for most of her career because she could cross so many genres.

“She was one of those rare vocalists who could do it all.” said her publicist Devra Hall Levy. “ Jazz, blues, pop and even funk. She did it all.”

Her recording, “How Glad I Am” earned her a Grammy in 1965 for best R&B performance. She later won Grammys in 2005 and 2007 for jazz music, along with a 2004 lifetime achievement award the “Jazz Masters Fellowship,” from the National Endowment for the Arts.

A music critic once called Wilson the heir apparent to iconic jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, and she was influenced by Nat King Cole and other legendary vocalists.

Her first album “Like in Love” came out in 1959 to commercial success and she frequently topped the Billboard pop charts in the 1960s.

Jazz historian and author Ted Gioia told Reuters that the jazz world had lost a music giant whose supple talents brought her songs emotive heights.

“She was one of those rare vocalists who could sing any style, cross any genre but still put her unique imprint on the music. Her albums were full of gems,” Gioia said.

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