cassandra wilson

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Judith Owen: Happy This Way (Courgette)

Judith Owen: Happy This Way (Courgette)

For Jamie Cullum to call Owen "the female Randy Newman" only tells you wee Jamie needs to be more familiar with Randy. But singer-pianist Owen (married to Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls aka Harry Shearer) does pen a good tune and weaves her literate lyrics through it in way which only the best can -- and the best like Cassandra...

Cassandra Wilson: Loverly (Blue Note)

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...

JOE LOVANO, A CAREER CONSIDERATION (2004): Sax in every direction

JOE LOVANO, A CAREER CONSIDERATION (2004): Sax in every direction

About a month ago I was in New York and spoke to Bruce Lundvall, head of the Blue Note label. Lundvall is a jazz man from way back and has been a major player in shaping careers. He worked the jazz catalogue at Sony back when it was called Columbia, left to start the Elektra Musician label for Warners and has been helming Blue note for two...

CLEO LAINE INTERVIEWED (2005): Ain't nothin' like a dame

CLEO LAINE INTERVIEWED (2005): Ain't nothin' like a dame

At 77 and with a career of almost six decades behind her, Cleo Laine admits she is slowing down a little. But not much. This year she is fully booked and that includes dates in Australia and New Zealand, as far as it is possible to get from her stately home in Buckinghamshire where she lives with her husband of 46 years, John Dankworth....

DIANA KRALL INTERVIEWED (2000): Blonde ambition

DIANA KRALL INTERVIEWED (2000): Blonde ambition

Grammy-gathering jazz pianist and chanteuse Diana Krall is shameless about her musical taste. She's about to go on stage in Philadelphia with Tony Bennett, but is confessing about the music she's listening to on the tour. Not unexpectedly, she rattles off a few by jazz artists such as John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and Ella Fitzgerald,...

Judith Owen: Mopping Up Karma (Courgette)

Judith Owen: Mopping Up Karma (Courgette)

This album came out many months ago and for some reason slipped my attention: it might have continued to sit in the pile while more pressing albums came along were it nor for the alarming inner sleeve which I just discovered in which Owen looks like a slightly younger but equally buttoned-up-in-leather version of Frau Blucher in Mel Brooks'...

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Given that this album was produced by Calexico's Joey Burns (who also wrote the music) this one comes as something of a surprise: you might have anticipated some kind of alt.Americana. There is something of that in the music and arrangements in places, but Dissard vocals (all in French) have that whispered, intimate, beguiling quality of the...

Hollie Smith: Humour and the Misfortune of Others (EMI)

Hollie Smith: Humour and the Misfortune of Others (EMI)

This can be extremely brief given that Smith's story, travails and so on have been much canvassed. But what hasn't been said too often or too loudly is that while her previous album Long Player sold exceptionally well it came encumbered with two shortcomings which probably didn't go unnoticed by those at Manhattan/Blue Note with whom she parted...

THE FATE OF THE NU: Something old, new, borrowed and Blue Note

THE FATE OF THE NU: Something old, new, borrowed and Blue Note

Pity any movement that describes itself as “New . . .” or, worse, “the future”. By definition i is fated to an inevitable and humiliatingly early grave when the next “new” movement, or something else promising to be “the future”, arrives. Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies, new...

Catherine Russell: Inside This Heart of Mine (World Village/Ode)

Catherine Russell: Inside This Heart of Mine (World Village/Ode)

With an excellent ensemble of understated but very classy players, jazz-cum-r'n'b singer Russell takes a sophisticated journey down the byways of ol' New Orleans, finger-snapping Swing Era sounds, cool blues and other related styles on a warmly produced album which includes materiaal by Fats Waller, Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, early r'n'b star...

Various Artists: . . . Featuring Norah Jones (Blue Note)

Various Artists: . . . Featuring Norah Jones (Blue Note)

Those who dismiss Norah Jones as some kind of aural wallpaper clearly aren't listening carefully enough. Her albums have been quietly progressive as they step deftly betwen lounge jazz and alt.country -- and the lady constantly defies expectation. Not the least by putting herself about a bit, in a professional way. This 18 track album...

BLUE NOTE'S BRUCE LUNDVALL INTERVIEWED (2005). Riding high on a Blue Note

BLUE NOTE'S BRUCE LUNDVALL INTERVIEWED (2005). Riding high on a Blue Note

The most powerful man in jazz sits in his office six floors above Fifth Avenue, New York. He's smiling. Business is good. Bruce Lundvall -- who began his career at Columbia Records with a hip young Miles Davis -- has been heading the famous Blue Note jazz label for 20 years. And recently business just got better. Why? In a word,...

Esperanza Spalding: Chamber Music Society (Head Up)

Esperanza Spalding: Chamber Music Society (Head Up)

Because we could safely assume few aggrieved Justin Bieber followers will ever come to Elsewhere, it is safe to write about this hitherto little-known jazz singer-composer-bassist who won the Grammy for Best New Artist over the glorious child who has been the sensation of the Twitter Generation. At first blush you can forgive their anger...

THE VERVE LABEL: Fifty-plus years, and what's the forecast?

THE VERVE LABEL: Fifty-plus years, and what's the forecast?

Sometimes, if we are lucky we can be at historic events. But we might not realise it until later. If a historic event is the Foo Fighters first recording as a band -- and remember Dave Grohl did the band's debut album himself -- then I can immodestly claim to have been there. It was in a BBC studio in London, Pat Smear lit one after...

HOLLIE SMITH INTERVIEWED (2011): Are friends electronica?

HOLLIE SMITH INTERVIEWED (2011): Are friends electronica?

In Berlin it's 8.15am so a yawning Hollie Smith is forgivably vague about where her friends Electric Wire Hustle played last night. And she is also on holiday, despite having a new album Band of Brothers Vol 1 – with Mara TK of EWH – released back home. “I did talk last year of moving over here for a lot longer,”...

NORAH JONES INTERVIEWED (2002 and 2003) AND ALBUM REVIEWS: Great Expectations -- and then some

NORAH JONES INTERVIEWED (2002 and 2003) AND ALBUM REVIEWS: Great Expectations -- and then some

Somebody up there obviously likes Norah Jones and blessed her with extraordinary good looks. Those are her cheekbones and ruby lips which have been replicated in their thousands and grace the cover of her album Come Away With Me.  And just in case her looks alone weren't enough to draw attention to this 22-year-old singer/pianist, that...

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