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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Dee: "I feel my generation had one advantage over today's players in that we were not musically educated in colleges, so we all sounded different. I could tell who it was just by the sound." - (Jazz Rag, Summer 2020).

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11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

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SEPTEMBER

IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON

SUNDAY 20

Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. Tel: 0191 691 7090. 12 noon. Free.

Riviera Quartet - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. A limited number of seats are available which MUST be bought in advance online. £7:50 or £5:45 live stream only.

THURSDAY 24

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

CD (s) Review: Nina Simone - Original Album Series.

The Amazing Nina Simone  (1959); Nina Simone at Town Hall (1959); Forbidden Fruit (1960); Nina Simone Sings Ellington (1962); Folksy Nina (1964).
(Review by Debra M.)
This 5 CD collection  is a re-issue of Nina Simone’s early recordings with her first big label Colpix Records, which followed her debut LP ‘Little Boy Blue’ with Bethlehem Records.  Her impact had been such that, unusually, Colpix  gave her complete creative control.
The first album, issued in 1959 and recorded at the age of 26 with many years of performing behind her, is The Amazing Nina Simone, arranged & conducted by Bob Mersey. The range of material reflects her diverse musical influences and includes jazz standards, folk tunes and gospel.  The opening ballad Blue Prelude is a compelling  reminder of the  unique timbre of Nina Simone’s voice. Her delivery  is melancholy and haunting, and this expressive, subtle style provides another highlight  in  It Might As Well Be Spring.
Nina Simone at Town Hall was recorded on September 12 of the same year, and captures Simone’s  trio on top form.  They are relaxed & swinging  in Exactly Like You,  restrained in The Other Woman, maximising  its  lyrical impact, and provide great dynamics in Billie  Holliday’s Fine and Mellow. But the outstanding track is the exquisite  Wild Is the Wind, sung so tenderly, and accompanied by delicate wind-like  flurries  from Simone at the piano.
Despite the tempting   title, the third album in the series, Forbidden Fruit, is more  pedestrian , with the exception of  the upbeat, raunchier style of  I Love to Love and  Work Song, and a heartfelt rendition of Memphis in June. The final and eponymous track feels slightly out of place, although Simone always retained  church derived songs in her repertoire, and the  band  clearly had some fun with  this take of Adam & Eve  eating that apple.
Nina Simone Sings Ellington,  released in 1962, includes a selection of well known and more obscure songs from the great composer.  The arrangements, featuring orchestra with horns, strings, and a host of closely harmonied backing singers, are of its time, and  restrict the opportunities for  improvisation , although in the only instrumental track,  Satin Doll,   Simone’s distinctive  piano  style is evident. The exception is Hey Buddy Bolden , a tribute to the New Orleans cornetist  & one of the founders of jazz, in which Simone gives  a passionate, hollering  rendition  accompanied almost exclusively by her piano.
The final album  is Folksy Nina,  a collection of live  recordings of old  English ,  Israeli, Low Country & American blues and traditional tunes. This provides some unexpected treats, in particular the percussion from Montego Joe on Eretz  Zavat Chalav and Vanetihu,  and a stripped down  interpretation of  the old English folk tune The Twelfth of Never, with piano and bowed bass, which is leagues ahead of the schmaltzy Donny Osmond version. The album ends sweetly with two children’s songs You Can Sing A Rainbow, and Hush Little Baby, with Simone’s vocal backed by delicate interchanges of guitar and piano, lullabies of the highest calibre.
The  Nina Simone Original Album Series provides 5 quite different albums that  give  a great overview of her unique voice and musicianship, as well as  her diverse  musical interests. Highly recommended for established fans, as well  as for less  familiar listeners, seeking to discover  Simone’s early eclectic repertoire. 
It is scheduled for release by Warner on August 25.
Debra M.

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