Incredible performances, flawed sound
Michael Knowles | Oakland, CA USA | 05/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I won't spend much time talking about how wonderful Nina's singing is -- you wouldn't be here if you weren't already a believer. Forbidden Fruit's "I'll Look Around" is an amazingly beautiful slow torcher. "Just Say I Love Him" is a wonderfully smoky number with a pleasingly spare arrangement that includes an understated Cubano rhumba beat. Nina rerecorded "Just Say I Love Him" in 1993 but the 1961 New York studio version is my favorite interpretation.The big problem here is that this Collectibles Records (via Rhino) combo album is poorly mastered. You can't really hear it on the sample clips available above but every single song has an imbalance of too much low booming bass sound interfering with Nina's voice. All the low piano and standup bass lines are overwhelmingly strong. There is even some ultra-low rumble that wasn't removed in the mastering process. To top it off there is a prevalent 60Hz electric power hum found on the seven tracks recorded live at Newport. What were you guys at Collectibles thinking? Spend a little time getting it right next time! Nina Simone is soooo worth it... -Bink"
So long,Little Girl Blue. Rest in peace now.
JEAN-MARIE JUIF | BESANCON France | 04/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Monday,April 21,2003.One of the greatest singers and piano players of jazz is gone at 70.Nina Simone,born Eunice Waymon in 1933,North Carolina,passed away today at her home in the south of France.
She will remain as one of the most haunting voices in the jazz history,with Lady Day and Dinah Washington.She also will remain as an incredible piano player,among the greatest.She could have been one of the greatest classical piano players too, but she was a black girl,and during the fifties,a black girl (or a man) wasn't supposed to play classical music (remember Art Tatum,for example).
I listened to this record three times before starting to write this review.And believe me,it's very difficult to write about such an immense artist at the time of her death.
Nina recorded several albums for the Colpix label.And they are all masterpieces: "Nina at Town Hall","Nina at the Village Gate","Nina Simone with strings","the amazing Nina Simone","sings Duke Ellington","Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall".
I won't write about each tune;I'll just tell you which ones are to me,tonight,the most emotionnal ones: the very sad "I'll look around" (remember Billie Holiday's version);the hard-bop blues feeling of Cannonball Adderley's "Work song",and tears come at my eyes while listening to Nina's outstanding vocals;the great "Gin house blues";Oscar Brown's "forbidden fruit";the somptuous "trouble in mind",with Nina's imperial piano and vocals,five minutes and thirty-two seconds of terrific music;the Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh's "Porgy",one of the most beautiful songs ever written,in which Nina reachs a very emotionnal peak;the classic "Little Liza Jane".
After listening to these two records,if you're not convinced that Nina Simone was one of the most important jazz artists of all times,then you'd rather have to listen to another kind of music.To me,she was the last of the very great jazz singer.Just one of the most beautiful voices ever.
So long,Nina;maybe eternity will be smooth and soft to you,if your life wasn't.I'll miss you."