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Nancy Wilson, acclaimed ‘song stylist’ who defied musical boundaries, dies at 81

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Nancy Wilson, an award-winning singer whose beguiling expressiveness in jazz, R&B, gospel, soul and pop made her a crossover recording star for five decades and who also had a prolific career as an actress, activist and commercial spokeswoman, died Dec. 13 at her home in Pioneertown, Calif. She was 81.

Her manager and publicist Devra Hall Levy confirmed the death but did not know the specific cause.

Ms. Wilson resisted the label of “jazz singer” for much of her career, although jazz was the form to which she returned time and again and in which she had her greatest critical and popular success. She considered herself above all “a song stylist,” she once told The Washington Post. “That’s my essence,” she said, “to weave words, to be dramatic.”

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Singer Nancy Wilson performs in 2007. (Rick Maiman/AP)

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