CASSANDRA WILSON — New Moon Daughter (review)

CASSANDRA WILSON — New Moon Daughter album cover Album · 1995 · Vocal Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
"Cassandra Wilson" can pretty much sing anything and not only that she can shape and bend those songs whether they be Jazz, Blues, Country or Rock and make them her own by a display of constraint, restraint and patience which gives her music its own sound in Jazz. Blues is the predominate influence for Cassandra and although we have a real mix of various style tunes within this album "New Moon Daughter" it is the Blues placed in a Jazz idiom that is what you will feel with a complete laid back style but one that also keeps you listening to Cassandra hold and bend those notes with her voice. Sultry,smokey and yes sexy as well is the description of Cassandra's voice and with her timbre she can sing those Blues with absolutely no effort but Cassandra is Jazz through and through. She has been around for quite a while now and early in her career collaborated with "Steve Coleman" the saxophonist,"M Base" which Steve was part of and also with "Henry Threadgill's, Air Band". Signed to "Blue Note in 1993 and released an absolute stunner of an album,"Blue Light Till Dawn" which is very similar in style to her next one in 1996 being "New Moon Daughter" which was one of those top albums in Jazz for that year and won her numerous awards including a Grammy. "Brandon Ross" who has been playing with "Henry Threadgill" is the guitarist and also contributes to some of the Arranging with Cassandra."Cyro Baptista" from Brazil is doing percussion, "Kevin Breit" is also on guitar but like Brandon the are playing varieties of string instruments by using electric,acoustic,banjo,bozouki, etc. "Lonnie Plaxico" appears on the majority of songs and he is on bass of course with "Dougie Browne" doing drums and any other type of percussion sound when needed, including an ashtray. There are other musicians making contributions as well but only on the odd song or two and they bring to the mix,cornet,dobro,congas,accordion and violin.

On the album we have a real mix of songs with five being written by Cassandra also "Robert Johnson","Son House","Hank Williams","Hoagy Carmichael","U2","Neil Young","Monkees tune being "Last Train to Clarkesville" but for the first we have the famous "Billy Holiday" song which was written by "Lewis Allen" and that is "Strange Fruit". Down tempo is where the covers all head from there original form and with some beautiful and original laid back results. "Love is Blindness" by "U2" is one stunning example by Cassandras approach and "Solomon Sang" follows which is one of Cassandra's compositions with a folk influence but jazz is the vibe. The two guitarists that feature have assisted with outstanding results with all the songs having them as the major component which only emphasises the Blues influence and they really do put down some fine picking with jabs and strums always on the spot. "Death Letter" the "Son House" song is simply beautiful with the texture in Cassandra's voice. The "Hank Williams" tune;"I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry" seems to be at half the speed Hank sang with every note sang by Cassandra just hanging there and she does capture that lonesome feel with stunning results and places this great composition right in to Jazz. "Last Train to Clarkesville" is next and you would think you are joking but this is just another song turned upside down but still retaining its original melody and just another highlight. "Until" another "Cassandra Wilson" composition has accordion throughout giving it a nice feel. "Harvest Moon" by "Neil Young" is the actual album closer but us lucky international customers scored a bonus with the "Robert Johnson" song 32-20 and that is where "Dougie Brown" gets to show of his percussion skills on tub and ashtray and they sound great.

Strange how when an album is released they garner high praise but as time goes by they occasionally seem to lose ground which I seemed to notice with this one's average rating. No such problems for me as it still sounds just as good when it was released back in 1996.
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