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Bebop Spoken There

Erin Davis: "I knew he [Miles Davis] was a famous musician, but didn't quite understand how famous." - (The Observer Magazine 29 March 2020)

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COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

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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