Listening

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JAZZ 2015 Cassandra Wilson’s Coming Forth by Day

I spend a lot of time flat on back my listening to music, rather than the reading I thought I might be doing while I’m resting. My listening comprehension doesn’t seem affected by pain or pain- killers, and I don’t need to hold anything in my so-called hands. The first thing I learned about my new iPad is how to sync my music library. I hook it up to computer speakers on the bedframe, or headphones when Lynn is working in her office. Lie still. Listen.

….

I’m listening to Cassandra Wilson’s Coming Forth by Day, an awkward title invoking an association with Lady Day or Billie Holiday. With one exception, this tonally adventurous recording Cassandra Wilsonreimagines (cover) songs that were a staple of the Holliday repertoire. Rumbling tympani, aching clarinet solos, electronic washes and (counter-intuitive) lush strings in the background, are just some of the reasons I am completely taken by this album released in April 2015.

Holliday sang with strings but often, unless the date was organized by Teddy Wilson (premiere swing jazz pianist) or featured her lifetime friend Lester Young, were unremarkable; so much background to mid century-modern ad men. Just about every black jazz musician including John Coltrane recorded ballads in an attempt to make some money in the (white) mainstream. So while others may wonder about the strings, I figure it’s Wilson ‘s attempt to “make it right,” this field neglected and well-suited to her adventurous musical wandering.
I was disappointed by her previous album, South, as I was with the record of the same name by Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Coming Forth by Day continues the aural richness of Travelling Miles (1999), and Silver Pony (guitars prominent, blues, released in 2010)). This record fares well in their company and I agree with the many critics suggesting this is her best record since Travelin’ Miles. She can change styles, and often does, with each new album. I have a niggling fear though that the seam of laid-back groove, which she does so well on the records mentioned, will run out.

 

Track Listing: Don’t Explain; Billie s Blues; Crazy He Calls Me; You Go To My Head; All Of Me; The Way You Look Tonight; Good Morning Heartache; What A Little Moonlight Can Do; These Foolish Things; Strange Fruit; I’ll Be Seeing You; Last Song (For Lester).

Personnel: Cassandra Wilson: vocals, guitar (10); Thomas Wydler: drums, percussion; Martyn Casey: bass; Jon Cowherd: piano, rhodes; Kevin Breit: guitar; banjo (7); Robby Marshall: saxophones, bass clarinet, melodica; Ming Vauz: guitar string effects; T Bone Burnett: baritone guitar (2, 7); Nick Zinner: guitar (4), loops (6, 8); Paul Cantelon: accordion (5); Eric Gofain: violin (11); The section Quartet, VDP Orchestra: strings.

Record Label: Legacy Recordings

 

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