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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilson at her Peak,
This review is from: Blue Light 'Til Dawn (Audio CD)I first came across Cassandra Wilson through her contributions to Steve Coleman's album Black Science and the Coleman-led M-Base Collective album Anatomy Of A Groove. Wilson's voice is essential to the way those records sound, and it is hard to imagine either Cool Lou or the self-written One Bright Morning from the M-Base outing sung by anyone else.
Buying Blue Light `Til Dawn when it was released was therefore the only thing to do.
The collection opens with the cold beauty of You Don't Know What Love Is, and Wilson renders it as possibly one of the profoundly sad love songs ever.
Wilson has drawn heavily on the small but golden legacy of Robert Johnson in her recordings, and on this collection appear two Johnson songs. The first is Come On In My Kitchen, the second Hellhound On My Tail. To say she does the man proud is an understatement, and this applies to all her subsequent borrowings from his sadly limited catalogue.
The Wilson-penned title track is seduction itself, opening with a rat-tat-tat on the drums leading into a grinding steel guitar which keeps the tone down and dirty throughout. It is preceded by a poetic interpretation of Van Morrison's Tupelo Honey, cunningly intercut with a slice of Hendrix's Angel and closed by a rattle of loose change from percussionist Kevin Johnson, Wilson's laughter and her shouted question, "What's with the change, Kevin?"
On Sankofa, Wilson accompanies herself on a multitracked, virtuoso demonstration of the range of her voice, which spans several octaves, to the extent that some of the vocals sound male. A beautiful song; a phenomenal voice.
One of the high points of the set for me, as close to Nirvana (the mystical place, not Curbain's band) as Wilson has ever come, is her interpretation of Joni Mitchell's Black Crow. Mitchell's move, after Shadows and Light, away from jazz-inspired music left a gap the size of the hole in the ozone layer, and for a while Wilson did a really good job of filling that gap. I'm not going to get into a discussion about whose version is the better; what counts is that they're both exceptional, and Wilson's approach is totally different, giving a whole new slant to the words. Wilson's voice is more solid than Mitchell's, but it soars with the crow just as Mitchell's does on the original, and Cyro Baptista's arrangement is spacious, leaving plenty of room for Wilson's voice. The backing comprises multiple percussionists together with Don Byron's clarinet, which complements Wilson's voice perfectly and itself soars during a dizzying solo. This compares with two guitars and a bass on Mitchell's version, which makes for an interesting contrast between the two.
The album closes with the classic I Can't Stand The Rain, as with the opener, a song of heartbreak. The song has a very spare production, a loose-stringed slide for accompaniment, and is as atmospheric as any song you'd care to name.
It's hopefully fair to say that, compared to my other favourite "vocal" artists - Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams (a personal and quite arbitrary label, I'll admit, and you may quite reasonably ask why, say, Springsteen is not included here; I won't get into the question of Dylan, if you have one) - Wilson is less accomplished as a songwriter. However, as a singer and interpreter of songs she often surpasses any of them, and Blue Light `Til Dawn represents the peak of that capability.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique voice in the world of Jazz,
By A Customer
This review is from: Blue Light 'Til Dawn (Audio CD)From the first track to the last, this CD re-establishes Miss Wilson as one of the greatest Jazz singers ever.
"You don't know what love is" really is a haunting track, that reflects the way we all feel, deep down, at LOSS that often occurs throughout life.
"Tupelo Honey" is as upbeat as it gets on this album. It was fascinating to find that Van Morrison and Jimi Hendrix were contributors (in one way or another) to the original track.
What I like about this album is that it oozes simpilicity. From the acoustic instruments to the actual words, this CD whispers vivid pictures of the imagination. Tracks such as "Sankofa" add a touch of African Mysticism (which seems to a be major contibutor to all her albums).
Miss Wilson deserves a place among the greatest Jazz Singers of all time.
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious!,
This review is from: Blue Light Til Dawn [VINYL] (Vinyl)Michael Fremer got this one right! I have most of her stuff (I think!?). "Travelling Miles" on LP, but the rest on CD. You think you know her. But this - this is breathtaking. Unbelievably good recording, too.
5.0 out of 5 stars voice,
This review is from: Blue Light 'Til Dawn (Audio CD)well recorded, produced cd. beautiful voice , like jaz, love this. first time ive heard of cassandra wilson, will look for others
5.0 out of 5 stars Cassandra's just great...,
This review is from: Blue Light 'Til Dawn (Audio CD)This lady will remain a jazz standard in the years to come...Vaughan, Washington, Fitzgerald...and one day, Wilson. Moody, sensual, lovely.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music to make love to,
By A Customer
This review is from: Blue Light 'Til Dawn (Audio CD)Cassandra Wilson's gorgeously husky voice caresses each word - her interpretation of "Tupelo Honey" is one of thee sexiest songs ever sung.
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