LABELS: Blue Note
WORKS: Assorted works sung by Cassandra Wilson
PERFORMER: Cassandra Wilson (vocals), Marvin Sewell (guitars), Jason Moran (piano), Lonnie Plaxico, Reginald Veal (bass), Herlin Riley (drums), Lekan Babalola (percussion)
CATALOGUE NO: 507 6992
It’s surprising that My Fair Lady should be a favourite musical of Mississippi’s smouldering songstress Cassandra Wilson. But then fans of the Blue Note diva have come to expect the unexpected – especially in her choice of ‘standard’ material.
In addition to ‘Wouldn’t it be Loverly’, this set includes dark blue treatments of such varied tunes as ‘Caravan’, ‘Lover Come Back to Me’ and ‘Black Orpheus’.
Delving further back, Wilson pulls out plums such as ‘St James Infirmary’ and ‘Dust my Broom’.
But then, with a contralto voice the flavour of dark tobacco and molasses, she could make a sensuous masterpiece out of ‘Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall’.
Her usual mode d’emploi is to hunker down in an improvised studio with a close band of brothers and let the arrangements evolve and flow from her.
It has paid off again here and the guys dance devotedly around that voice like bees around a honey pot. Garry Booth