Amazon.com essential recording
This live 1990 set makes clear that Cassandra Wilson had fully arrived. In the live setting, she calls on greater reserves of vim than mark her predominantly lolling, brooding studio dates. All to great effect. One senses Betty Carter-like showmanship, Peggy Lee-like swagger, and, of course, Nina Simone's otherworldly drone. Just as formative was Wilson's Joni Mitchell-inspired apprenticeship in the coffeehouses of Jackson, Mississippi, and other southern cities. She breathes fresh life into standards like "'Round Midnight." Her anthem of black resilience, "Don't Look Back," receives driving treatment. A telling selection is Wilson's own composition, "My Corner of the Sky," because its lyrics and delivery transport her to a distinctly personal space of the kind she was coming to inhabit so regally. --Peter Monaghan
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CASSANDRA WILSON IS JUST THE BEST THERE IS (AND SHE'S LIVE)
Steven Meyers | New Jersey | 10/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't like Jazz singers. I adore this Jazz singer. Cassandra Wilson is beyond anything from this world. If God created anything better than Cassandra Wilson, he would have kept it for himself. This concert is such an amazing experience that you won't leave your seat for 70 minutes. There isn't a moment in this concert that isn't perfect. Cassandra is here: the deep voice (like a deep smooth ale), the moaning, the wailing, the highs, the lows, thr throaty delivery coming from deep inside her, the louds,the softs, the scatting (I hate scatting, but not when she does it), the slurring of the words (I never know what she's talking about, but her voice is an instrument so who cares),.... It's a very powerful experience listening to her. This is recorded on JMT, which is where she started. You can hear the Steve Coleman, John-Paul Bourelly influence on the 4 of the 7 songs that they wrote or co-wrote. There is the M-Base influence (some of this sounds like Jump Street), Hip-Hop, Funk, Rock, Jazz, a Free Jazz feel as if some of the interludes are running away, going over a cliff. The trio she is with makes this performance as much as she does. This is what is so great about Cassandra Wilson. This is not a Jazz singer with a backup trio. She understands her voice is part of the band and lets everyone be upfront, which makes this the superior performance that it is. You feel like you are listening to alternative jazz, with a progressive quartet; she being one of the instruments. Kevin Bruce Harris on electric Bass is the key to this situation. He is everywhere. Right in your face. Right out in front. He becomes the lead instrument at times. It's like a duet between him and her, with the piano and drums supporting them. James Weidman on piano has long passages that are Free Jazz in their structure and Mark Johnson on drums makes you feel like you are at a Rock concert from the power he is projecting. This is a musical experience. Very progressive. Even the two standards are done in the style that permeates this CD. The best live Jazz singer concert I have ever heard. Seven songs; three of which are 11 minutes or more. Real stretched out music. People improvising their faces off. Very textural. Very effective accoutic and electric feeling playing off each other. In "Rock This Calling", the paino is Free Jazz, the drums are Rock, and the Bass is playing like Jaco. All at the same time on top of each other; and she's singing. Please buy this and give yourself and otherworldly musical experience."