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Silver Pony CD

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Nov. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00389JFW4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,787 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Silver Pony, is the stunning new album from multiple Grammy Award-winning jazz-pop chanteuse, Cassandra Wilson. Wilson's remarkable, husky-tinged vibrato has created a trademark sound for her as an artist.

A unique hybrid live/studio album, Silver Pony moves seamlessly between live recordings from a European tour and studio recordings laid down at New Orleans’ Piety Street Studios. The album features a mix of jazz/pop classics as well as songs newly-written by Cassandra and her band.

Silver Pony draws its title from an experience which Cassandra had as a child and which left an indelible mark in her memory bank, and thus on her career itself. “A man came around my neighborhood in Jackson, Mississippi, with a pony and camera,” she recalls. “You could pay to get your picture taken.” Her brothers declined, but Cassandra was eager. Her mother hesitated-“there were certain things young ladies just didn't do,” Wilson adds. But Cassandra seized the moment, got the picture. “I'm so happy she let me ride the pony,” she says now. “I was fearless, and I guess she wanted to encourage that in me.” That priceless photo is now featured on the cover of “Silver Pony,” and such fearlessness now fuels Wilson's work. “I prepare for each recording but you can never truly prepare,” Wilson says. “Because you don't really know what's coming. You just place yourself in the circumstances that will allow the project to reveal itself.”

Silver Pony was produced by Cassandra Wilson and John Fischbach (owner of Piety Street Recording Studios) and features Cassandra on Vocals and Synthesizer, Marvin Sewell on Electric Guitar, Reginald Veal on Electric Bass, Herlin Riley on Drums, Jonathan Batiste on Piano and Lekan Babalola on Percussion. Terence Blanchard adds trumpet along with Common’s vocals on “Silver Moon” and “Watch The Sunrise” features both vocals and piano by John Legend.

BBC Review

Vocalist Cassandra Wilson long ago attained the happy position where it was unnecessary to tell her followers that a new album was good. The fact it is a Cassandra Wilson album is recommendation enough. Since her Blue Note debut in 1993, she has been in a rich vein of form – and now Silver Pony continues that run.

The album’s special feature is that it contains live material, the first from Wilson since her 1991 Live album. Recordings from a European tour are seamlessly blended with recordings made at Piety Street Studios, New Orleans – the applause is all that helps tell them apart. Silver Pony includes live versions of three tracks featured on Wilson’s 2008 Grammy-winning album, Loverly.

The choice of material is typically eclectic, including original compositions, old blues songs, standards and pop songs. Who else could sandwich Stevie Wonder’s romantic If It’s Magic between blues classics associated with Charlie Patton and Muddy Waters, and make it sound like an obvious, natural sequence?

As ever, whatever the material, Wilson’s smooth but husky-toned vocals are highly distinctive, especially when combined with a delivery that savours every word while remaining loose and languid. Her reading of St James Infirmary is textbook jazz singing, as she plays with the rhythm, stretching some lines and foreshortening others.

Such prowess has sometimes meant Wilson’s musicians have been rather overshadowed. Silver Pony remedies that situation, allowing them at least as much room as the vocalist. Guitarist Marvin Sewell, pianist Jonathan Batiste, bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Herlin Riley and percussionist Lekan Babalola demonstrate that they are a tight, funky band able to adapt to the breadth of styles required of them. Led by Sewell’s slide guitar, they transform Patton’s Saddle Up My Pony/Pony Blues into a rhythmic groove full of attention-grabbing instrumental details.

A Night in Seville is a straight instrumental, with Wilson herself playing synthesiser. It segues into the band composition Silver Moon, which has an atmospheric saxophone solo from guest Ravi Coltrane. Sunrise includes another guest, John Legend, in a touching duet with Wilson. It suggests a duo album would make a successful future project.

--John Eyles

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By G. E. Harrison TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD
I'm afraid I found this another disappointing record from such a great singer - from it's horrible cover (slightly more forgiveable when you know the story behind it) to the music, which is a mix of live tracks recorded in Europe and others recorded in a studio in New Orleans. The tracks are a mixture of jazz standards such as the opener "Lover come back to me", blues like Muddy Waters "40 days and 40 nights" and more contemporary material like the Beatles' "Blackbird" and Stevie Wonder's "If it's magic". So there is lots of variety here and as usual Cassandra's voice is a wonderful but I just found the songs and playing a bit uninspiring - except for the truly marvelous live extended version of Charlie Patten's "Saddle up my pony" which for me just totally eclipses the rest of the CD. I wasn't keen on Cassandra's version of "St. James Infirmary" from the CD "Loverly" and the live version included here isn't a great deal better. The other tracks, including the duet with John Legend on "Watch the sunrise", are just about OK but apart from "Saddle up my pony" there is nothing here to compare with the complete mastery of her "Blue light 'til dawn" CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amillionmiles on 25 July 2011
Format: Audio CD
Since Cassandra Wilson signed with Blue Note back in 1993 and brought us the wonderful "Blue Light Till Dawn", she has released 7 really impressive new recordings. "Silver Pony" is kind of the eighth, but it feels more like another compilation as it does not include that much new material.

There are indeed quite a few other flaws to this CD. It contains many different styles, all familiar to Cassandra on different albums, but here, they are compiled into one. Although this can sometimes work, it does not really do so here and feels a bit thrown together - for example, "Saddle Up My Pony" does not fit well next to "If It's Magic". There are some disappointing choices in the live recordings such as "A Night In Seville" which is just an instrumental and the aforementioned "Saddle Up My Pony" which, at nearly ten minutes long, is a little too monotonous and simple. The live cover of Lennon and McCartneys "Blackbird" is too bland and ordinary. The duet with John Legend "Watch The Sunrise" is a nice song, but their vocals sound pretty awful together and it would have been much better without him. The track "Silver Pony" is pretty pointless as it is just 30 seconds long even though it was apparently written by six people.

On the up side, "Beneath The Silver Moon" is pleasant, the version of Stevie Wonders' "If It's Magic" is indeed quite magical and the funky "Forty Days And Forty Nights" brings some well needed rythym to the album. Two strong live performances are "Lover Come Back To Me" and "St James Infirmary", but they both feature on her 2008 release "Loverly", as does "A Day In The Life Of A Fool", so it is a strange choice to add the live versions here, only 2 years later.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Cassandra Wilson has always been a singer of gravitas
and consummate conviction. This collection of live and
studio tracks, even though it may be little more than
a stepping stone from one place to another, brims over
nonetheless with the spirit of a woman who understands
how to find the heart of a song and fill it with life and
(especially in the case of a few of these old warhorses)
new meaning and unimpeachable style and grace.

There are one or two misadventures and dead ends (the
instumental 'A Night In Seville' is a tad lacklustre
and the electric piano solo on opening track 'Lover
Come Back To Be' is certainly less than lovely!) but
Ms Wilson's round and velvety tones more than make up
for any minor misdemeanors in the overall programme.

On 'Beneath A Silver Moon' she is on sparkling form (as is
her fine ensemble) and weaves the elusive melody in and out
of the slinky rhythmic structure like a spider negotiating a
complex cobweb caught in the light of a moonbeam. Magical!

So too her take on Stevie Wonder's delightful 'If It's Magic'.
The spare but luminous arrangement gives the voice room to move
and breathe. I think it is one of Ms Wilson's finest moments.

The haunting live rendition of the Luiz Bonfa/Carl Sigman
composition 'A Day In The Life Of A Fool' is another of
the album's most captivating performances. Smooth and sensual
and mesmerizingly moody. A dream for a long, hot, summer night.

Final track 'Watch The Sunrise', a duet with John Legend,
probably shouldn't work but it does. An emotionally uplifting
conclusion to a fine album. (The cello delivers a sublime
third voice!)

Silver Pony is a grower which ranks with the very best of
Ms Wilson's work. A voice in a million in very fine fettle.

Highly Recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Great followup 8 Jan. 2011
By john fischbach - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a great followup to "Loverly". The concept is interesting and the band behind Cassandra is smokin. The stand out is Marvin Sewell whose guitar work is astounding and truly unique. It's a great listen all the way through.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
worthy a ride 31 May 2011
By John W. Dunner - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Wilson's low, molasses tones roll slowly into your ears, enclosing your brain in a late summer's rain, as she breathes her way through another bayou-jazz, cocktail set of songs of regrets, wrongs, and quiet righteousness. This time around, she combines live tracks with studio tracks that were birthed live and groomed in the recording booths. Either way, the songs bend to the Wilson will, as she stretches, massages, and clips notes as she sees fit. Once again for Wilson, most work; a few don't. The sublime contralto purr of "If It's Magic," a fluttering "Blackbird," and the wistful "A Day in the Life of a Fool" far outclass the prolonged slide-blues of "Saddle Up My Pony," or the bent, detuned guitar figure of "St. James Infirmary." But do climb on; Silver Pony is definitely worth a ride.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Very Special 23 Mar. 2011
By Sharon M. Robinson - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In my opinion this is one of Cassandra Wilson better CDs. I love the bluesy feel of her music blended with jazz, the conga drums. Yes I love this CD, it is very special.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Best Jazz You Can a teeny tiny disc 29 Jan. 2011
By cm - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There is not a bad track on Cassandra Wilson's SP. I hope she wins many awards for this. If you love REAL jazz, you've got to get this CD.
-CM Miller, author-Dead Broke
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
AAA+ 29 July 2011
By M. Williams - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm not a big Jazz guy but what I like about Cassandra Wilson is how Organic her recordings are, It seem's most Artist these day's dont no when to Quit and it leeds to a over produced recording . Cassandra is a Bench mark for me-Her recordings are "real " sounding -She is Real sounding
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