For Nancy Harrow, singing to Jack Wilkins' guitar is almost like accompanying herself.
"I've always had the feeling that if I could play the guitar, I'd like to play like him. He is really almost like a whole orchestra and we are very much attuned to each other."
Wilkins and Harrow will be at Blues Alley Saturday for performances at 2 and 4 p.m. They'll do some selections from their recent album, "Two's Company," on the Inner City label, including Gershwin's "I've Got a Crush on You," some tunes they have recently added to their repertoire, such as Fats Waller's "You're Not the Only Oyster in the Stew" and the title cut of Harrow's first album in the early '60s, "Wild Women Don't Have the Blues."
Harrow grew up in New York listening to older brothers playing saxophone and clarinet to their swing era records. She later did a stint with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under Warren Covington. "I was amazed that I knew all the instrumental parts -- they were somewhere in my unconscious."
Although her association with Wilkins goes back a few years when he was in a combo Harrow recorded with, her participation in a voice-guitar duo format began in the late '50s when she would sit in with Kenny Burrell at Minton's, the famous Harlem after-hours spot where, legend has it, be-bop came into being. She later did a gig with Burrell at the Cookery and Wilkins dropped by to check out the guitarist, one of his idols. Listening to the duo, he liked what he heard. Quite a few years went by and then last year Harrow suggested, "Why don't we do an album, the two of us?"