One of the absolute best albums of music ever recorded!
R. M. Hatch | Windsor Mill, MD | 06/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a child; I used to awake to the sound of the music from this album accompanied by the drone of the vacuum cleaner as my mom began her chores on Saturday morning. My mother, who is a listener to all things musical, played this album so often (along with other artists which include Ray Charles, Etta James, Jimmy Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, Gloria Lynne, John Gary and even Chopin) that she literally played the grooves off the record! Eventually my sister had my mom's copy of the original LP (recorded on the Bethlehem label) made into a clock in my mother's honor and as an award (as it were) to recognize her appreciation of great music. I searched for years afterward trying to find the album exactly as it had been with the songs in their original playing order and finally did many years later as a re-issue on a newer version of the Bethlehem label but with more modern cover art (a slight disappointment) in the late 70's. I bought two; one for myself and one for my mom and then I was also lucky enough to run across it yet again some years later on the Salsoul label with the original album photo on the front cover still in tact. To date; I have so many copies and re-incarnations of this music that I could open up my own Nina Simone - "Little Girl Blue" music store! It was years before I knew that songs like "Mood Indigo", "Little Girl Blue", "Love Me or Leave Me" and "I Loves You, Porgy" didn't sound anywhere near as fine as Ms. Simone's renditions of these great songs. I recently had the pleasure of performing in a production of "Sophisticated Ladies" which contained a version of "Mood Indigo". My mom and sister were completely taken aback to hear the song as it was originally written by Duke Ellington; having become so predestined to Nina's treatment. Nina Simone has the most uncanny ability to mix her classical piano training w/her incomparable feel for jazz to create some of the most moving and original sounding music (I think) ever recorded on this; her debut recording. Her trio swings with wild abandon on the opening track of "Mood Indigo" and again on "Love Me or Leave Me" before Nina seamlessly transitions into swingin' classical intervals mid-song and then back into the original groove of the song w/o ever sounding jarring or overdone. It's like magic; amazing! Her soulful contralto sounds like the feel of brushed satin on ballads like "Don't Smoke in Bed", "He Needs Me" and "Plain Gold Ring". When she attacks her dramatic rendition of "He Got the Whole World in His Hands" which builds and builds to such a dramatic climax that one is not quite sure whether she's aware of just how greatly she is moving her listeners, it almost moves one to tears. Then there is her swinging original composition of "Central Park Blues" which evokes the feeling of the infamous plot of land located in center of NYC with surprising reality; expressing all the joy and the caution. Last but by no stretch of the imagination least is the lively, happy-go-lucky treatment of "My Baby Just Cares for Me" which to my delight re-surfaced a decade or so ago as the musical backdrop on a commercial for a product about which I don't even remember nor care. It bought the song and the artistry of Ms. Simone back to the forefront for many and introduced her for the very first time to many more. The song is nothing less than infectious given that Simone treatment. If you have ever considered yourself a Nina Simone fan and have by any chance not had the experience of enjoying this collection of recorded music then you should re-think your personal definition of what a fan truly is. This album is a gem from start to finish; starting with the photo of Nina sitting on a park bench somewhere in Central Park in her red checked poncho looking ever so forlorn and lonely, right down to the very last note of the very last song. The re-issued CD does include other songs recorded by Nina for the Bethlehem label not included on the original vinyl release but the additions fit right in with the jazzy, soulful feel of the musical landscape and their inclusion was a wise choice indeed. "Little Girl Blue" was not only a groundbreaking musical treasure; it's quite simply the eight wonder of the world!"
One of the Clearest voices in jazz
Robert Johnson | Seattle, WA USA | 05/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dr. Nina Symone has one of the clearest voices in Jazz. Couple that with her skills as a pianist and you have a treat for the ears. I highly reccomend this CD."
Excellent album, but this CD edition is not the best
Ryan Clark | PA | 05/21/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Amazon claims that this Fuel 2000 edition of Jazz as Played in an Exclusive Side Street Club, aka Little Girl Blue, the essential debut album by Nina Simone, is remastered -- but I beg to differ. I'd heard a better sounding version of these songs from a different CD, and I bought this edition thinking it was the one I was looking for. However, the sound quality is pretty terrible. It's not the worst I have heard, but it really doesn't do justice to Nina's beautiful voice and her piano playing, both of which should envelope the listener and not let go until the album is finished. I sold the Fuel CD and purchased the 2004 import CD by Snapper, offered here: Jazz as Played in an Exclusive Side Street Club. It is slightly more expensive, but it was remastered from the original session tapes (and sounds like it). You can get it from the marketplace for much cheaper than the list price, so I highly recommend that you skip buying this edition and get the Snapper one instead.
As for the album itself, I shouldn't have to say anything about it to convince you to buy a copy, but I will say this: It is perhaps the most perfect, mind-blowing album I have ever heard in my life."