British Columbia

Dal Richards Orchestra singer performs tribute to her idol Nancy Wilson

Jennifer Hayes is honouring the iconic album 'Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley' at Frankie’s Jazz Club.

Jennifer Hayes is honouring the iconic album 'Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley' at Frankie’s Jazz Club

Jennifer Hayes (left) is paying tribute to Nancy Wilson (pictured here in 1967) and her iconic album with jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. ( Images)

Before Jennifer Hayes sang in front of thousands of people with the late Dal Richards and his band, she says was a very shy, young girl but it was her elementary music school teacher that gave her the push she needed.

"I was a very, very shy, extremely shy, and I do credit her and credit singing for getting me out of that," Hayes told Hot Air host Margaret Gallagher.

Jennifer Hayes (left) with Hot Air host Margaret Gallagher. (CBC)

After going on to study jazz at Capilano University, Hayes was discovered by the late Dal Richards and went on to perform with his famous orchestra in front of crowds at Olympic and Paralympic Games and many other events.

"I think going through [Capilano] College I gained some self confidence and was able to finally stand up there confidently and express myself," Hayes said.

Tribute to jazz legend Nancy Wilson

Now Hayes is paying tribute to one of the artists she discovered during her jazz studies — Nancy Wilson, an American singer whose 1961 album with legendary saxophonist Cannonball Adderley propelled her to national fame.

Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley's iconic 1961 album. (YouTube)

The Jennifer Hayes Sextet will be honouring the album Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley at Frankie's Jazz Club in Vancouver on Saturday, June 4.

Hayes said the album was innovative, and the songs "weren't your typical songs you hear on every other album."

"She [Nancy Wilson] wanted to do this album of songs that were not the classic songs that everybody [else was] doing," Hayes said.

"And she felt herself that in this album she was like a third horn part, just an easy going horn part going along with it, and I think it actually does have that vibe."

Original song in upcoming documentary

Hayes also has a song she wrote herself appearing in the upcoming documentary Perfume War.

That documentary is about Canadian entrepreneur Barb Stegemann, who Hayes said "had an idea to go to Afghanistan, harvest the rose blossoms and orange petals from the farmers there and use it to create perfume oils and create perfume, so as to employ them and get them off the illegal poppy crops."

Stegemann formed the company The 7 Virtues, and after a successful pitch on Dragons' Den she began sourcing fair market essential oils from war-torn countries to create fragrances.

Hayes was inspired after she heard Stegemann speak at an event, and wrote a song titled Noble Rose — named after one of Stegemann's perfumes Noble Rose of Afghanistan.

"I thought, I'm going to write a song about this, because I think ... it's about standing up, facing the world, and doing something good." 

With files from CBC's Hot Air

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Jennifer Hayes of Dal Richards Orchestra performs tribute to jazz legend Nancy Wilson