A distinguished jazz singer who expanded her audience with forays into pop and R&B, Nancy Wilson was still in high school in Columbus, Ohio, when she won a talent contest and began singing in local clubs. She graduated and performed in a big band, then moved to New York in 1959, where she sang in clubs and signed with Capitol Records.
The label released five albums between 1960 and '62, including notable collaborations with Cannonball Adderley and George Shearing. A 1964 engagement at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles cemented her stature, leading to frequent television guest appearances and her own Emmy-winning NBC variety show in 1975.
In her diverse later career she hosted NPR’s “Jazz Profiles” series and won jazz vocal Grammys in 2004 and 2006.