Cassandra Wilson: Loverly (Blue Note)

 |   |  1 min read

Cassandra Wilson: Gone with the Wind
Cassandra Wilson: Loverly (Blue Note)

More so than her Blue Note labelmate Norah Jones, vocalist Wilson (along with violinist Regina Carter on Verve incidentally) has redefined the parameters of what we know as "jazz" in the 21st century.
Jones may be a superb jazzy singer-songwriter with a country heart, but Wilson can turn her attention to material from all across the musical spectrum (not unlike what used to happen in the 50s and 60s) and find some nuance to exploit or bring a personal touch to.
In the past she has interpreted the music of Miles Davis (the album Traveling Miles), covered the Band's The Weight and pop standards such as Witchita Lineman, and her Thunderbird album was produced by T-Bone Burnett (see below). She's as comfortable on traditional blues and songs by Jakob and Bob Dylan as she is in writing her own material.
So you take any album by Wilson seriously. She does - although there is always a sense of wit about them too.
This album of interpretations (with a stunning band which includes pianist Jason Moran, bassists Lonnie Plaxico or Reginald Veal, drummer Herlin Riley and guitarist Marvin Sewell) skates effortlessly across genres for its material: Wouldn't It Be Loverly, Caravan, If There Was You, St James Infirmary, The Very Thought Of You . . .
That's Lerner-Loewe to Ellington to popular movie song to traditional blues and a classic American ballad. Few other artists could do that with such cool aplomb, but Wilson is like very few others -- she rewrites these songs for you.
And she picks up Elmore James' Dust My Broom for an earthy but sophisticated interpretation.
Cassandra Wilson remains the most interesting and rewarding of the many jazz vocalists around today -- and if this one keeps the emotions in check a fraction too much then it simply makes for a sustained mood piece with enough variety to be utterly engaging.

Share It

Your Comments

David - Dec 20, 2008

This album sneaks up on you. There's a warm feeling about it, almost subdued like late night fire and a wee dram of whisky.
Wilson is an accomplished Jazz singer as her previous albums indicate. She seems more relaxed and it flows through the entire album

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Lydia Loveless: Real (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Lydia Loveless: Real (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Now onto her fifth album 25-year old Lydia Loveless (born Lydia Ankrom) draws a thread between brittle power pop, whatever passes for alt.country these days and classic guitar jangle with a... > Read more

Various Artists: Chimes of Freedom; The Songs of Bob Dylan (Fontana)

Various Artists: Chimes of Freedom; The Songs of Bob Dylan (Fontana)

The Word magazine out of Britain recently had a very funny article about this four CD set of previously unreleased songs by artists covering Bob Dylan, profits from which go to Amnesty... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Joe Bonamassa and band; Auckland Town Hall, September 12 2014

Joe Bonamassa and band; Auckland Town Hall, September 12 2014

When Tina Turner was filling stadia in the late Eighties I had the misfortune of seeing her twice in quick succession. But let's be clear, Turner was exceptional and although she delivered the... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (Sub Pop)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (Sub Pop)

Writing parody songs is harder than it seems -- one Neil Young is possible but then try for Neil Diamond, the Bee Gees, Hendrix etc. Yet the Flight of the Conchords accomplish it with what seems an... > Read more