CASSANDRA WILSON — Silver Pony (review)

CASSANDRA WILSON — Silver Pony album cover Album · 2010 · Vocal Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Matt
Recorded in New Orleans with a mixture of songs live from the road in Europe and having a distinct Blues influence.Charlie Patton and Muddy Waters are covered even "St. James Infirmary" but also we get a standard with "Lover Come Back To Me", some Pop tunes and also four compositions by Cassandra Wilson and the band as is the norm with Cassandra's albums because she just does not do covers but writes her own material as well as re- interrupt the songs that are not hers. Cassandra had a rough year in 2009 when her mother passed away and hit the road 5 months after on a European tour. Realising that the band and herself were sounding great she wanted to expand and get this feel on an album. Husky and smokey seems to be the timbre of Cassandra's voice, so singing blues is no issue for her but neither is pop numbers and standards but it is Jazz that she turns them in too with beautiful laid back results. The band are predominatley from New Orleans with Martin Sewell on guitars for all songs, Reginald Veal on bass, Herlin Riley, drums, Lekon Babalola, percussion with also Jonathan Bastiste on piano. Five guests on the album with four playing only on the last track "Watch The Sunrise" and Ravi Coltrane adding tenor on "Beneath A Silver Moon".

Live is how we start with a re-vamp of "Lover Come Back To Me" with a light tinkly piano intro then Cassandra coming in loud and clear with a beautful laid back delivery and a touch of scat. Jonathan Bastiste shows why he is a red hot prodigy on piano from New Orleans with a great solo then Herlin Riley has a go on drums and Cassandra finishes up but the wahoo at the end of the verse in her vocals is gorgeous. Things pick up with the next classic which is pure New Orleans being "St. James Infirmary" and no need to say "Not another version" because this one has got groove with great electric guitar and piano over that rythmn section of three because the percussion from Lekon Babalola gives it a wonderful vibe. "Beneath A Silver Moon" is in the studio with Ravi Coltrane as guest on tenor saxophone written by Cassandra and the band. Electric guitar and piano gilding over the rythmn with this beautifully written jazz song that has Cassandra vocals and Ravi 's tenor getting equal share in the arrangement. Martin Sewell the guitarist is the absolute star in this live version of the Charlie Patton song "Saddle Up My Pony" with slide playing drenched in the Mississippi. Blues is the stucture and exquisite is the style in this just under ten minute version. "If Its Magic" by Stevie Wonder is given great treatment as are the remaining numbers on the album . The title track "Silver Pony" is just a short piece primarily instrumental as the third track "A Night in Seville" is as well. There is a Muddy Waters tune with a Lennon McCartney and the last has Cassandra singing with John Legend in "Watch The Sunrise" and for this old bloke Cassandra is honey compared to the other vocal contribution of Golden Syrup.

Great album and one that may garner her more with the live songs being the the pick but I found not a lot new in it. Still is a good listen though.
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