Jazz Middelheim 2010
In a reprise of the previous evening's dynamic curve, the festival arrived at its conclusion in a relaxed, almost sombre, fashion. Cassandra Wilson was slinking around the stage in sandals, her band mastering the art of light and dark contrasts. She adopts a slightly eccentric posture that's more common in the rock world, unafraid to express a natural playfulness, yet still selecting elements of diva dignity. It's a curious, though compelling, mixture. Wilson manages to impose authority and casualness simultaneously. Brandon Ross may well be the most familiar guitarist in her band, but it was his fellow picker Marvin Sewell who took most of the remarkable solos. Gregoire Maret
also contributed some beguiling harmonica textures. Lonnie Plaxico
was on the bass, and Herlin Riley was still around to play the drums, following his Ahmad Jamal set. Even for those who don't appreciate jazz vocals, Wilson has such a heavy blues content in her rich, deep and rounded voice that she can court outsiders who might normally prefer rock, soul, funk or gospel stylings. There was an extreme downpour pounding on the marquee, but the Middelheim audience were being safely warmed around Wilson's boudoir fireplace.