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Cassandra Wilson at Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Ernest Barteldes By

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Cassandra Wilson
Lincoln Center Out of Doors
August 8, 2014
New York, NY


Playing before an outdoor capacity audience, Cassandra Wilson performed a concert to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Blue Night 'till Dawn (Blue Note, 1993), featuring many of the musicians who originally performed on the studio version. Wilson kicked off a soulful rendition of "You Don't Know What Love Is" with incredible subtlety, feeling every verse deeply while the musicians played with incredible feeling. The audience was mostly silent, something that almost never happens at an outdoor venue. She also impressed the crowd with an extended take on Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen" performed solely by Wilson and guitarist Brandon Ross, who played with incredible gusto and got a standing ovation at the end of the tune.

Other highlights included "Estrellas," a song that featured its composer, Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, who started out with psychedelic-like grooves that included some screams into the microphone alongside his trademark handmade instruments. It was great to hear the band come together with this tune— especially the improvisation it encouraged. The fun that the ensemble had with this number was palpable and intoxicating with shifting tempos featuring Scott and Baptista, who played around Wilson's vocals.

She kept surprising fans during the set—one tune evolved into the spiritual "When The Saints Go Marching In" featuring a harmonica player that blew everyone away with creativity and technique. He extended his solo as Wilson encouraged him to continue playing.

It was an incredible evening that reminded fans of a groundbreaking album and how much the music has evolved since then. Many selections were played in a completely different manner and also expanded. Wilson was able to bring those tunes to life once again with style and feeling—nothing less than anyone present expected.

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