Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Cassandra Wilson Live at Central Park Summerstage

Ernest Barteldes By

Sign in to view read count
Cassandra Wilson
Central Park Summerstage, Rumsey Playfield
New York, NY
June 15, 2007

Following trumpeter and singer Olu Dara, who charmed the audience with his laid-back approach, Cassandra Wilson (who dueted with Dara during his closing number) took the stage with a six-piece band that featured pianist Cyrus Chestnut and bassist Reginald Veal. They kicked off the show with an instrumental piece led by Chestnut that was woven into Wilson's version of "Sweet Georgia Brown," which included a Latinesque piano riff and fine chops from her backing band. Wilson also ad-libbed a bit of the Billie Holiday hit "Miss. Brown To You as the song closed.

"We aren't doing an ordinary set list tonight, she said as she addressed the crowd that filled Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. "We are doing something coming from your energy.

She went on to "Shall We Dance," which took full advantage of Chestnut's chops as Wilson sang in a manner that fit like a glove with the pianist's style. They both had big smiles directed toward each other, reveling in the musical chemistry that emanated from the stage.

Miles Davis was responsible for making Cyndi Lauper's pop hit "Time After Time a jazz favorite, and the tune has since been recorded by many artists of the genre. In Wilson's hands, the song became a soul piece. The audience received the song well, many singing along to the familiar lyrics.

Another highlight of the evening was Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies," for which she sang the intro and just allowed the bandmembers to improvise around the melody. Chestnut's command of the keys is nothing short of that of a virtuoso, as he played both strongly and subtly while the band followed his lead. Reginald Veal also contributed an impressive solo, which brought the tune to a close.

A favorite of the audience was "Solomon's Son," which was repeatedly requested by fans. Wilson obliged, and received loud applause in response.

She closed the show with "Easy Rider," a tune from her latest disc, Thunderbird (Blue Note), which features a slide guitar that takes you straight back to the banks of the Mississippi River.

Watching Cassandra Wilson on stage was a treat—she was extremely cheerful, and seemed happy to be performing at an outdoor concert. The sound was well mixed, and listeners could hear every note clearly wherever they were watching from. It was a memorable night, leaving a sweet aftertaste and great expectations for the upcoming shows on this Summerstage season.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Jazztopad Festival 2017 Live Reviews Jazztopad Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below Live Reviews Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Henry Threadgill at Tilton Gallery Live Reviews Henry Threadgill at Tilton Gallery
by Kurt Gottschalk
Published: December 10, 2017
Read The Brian McCarthy Quartet At FlynnSpace Live Reviews The Brian McCarthy Quartet At FlynnSpace
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Mindi Abair at The Empress Theatre Live Reviews Mindi Abair at The Empress Theatre
by Walter Atkins
Published: December 8, 2017
Read BAN BAM: Music Talking Live Reviews BAN BAM: Music Talking
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 7, 2017
Read "The Comet Is Coming at Black Box" Live Reviews The Comet Is Coming at Black Box
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Jay Phelps at the Harrow Arts Centre" Live Reviews Jay Phelps at the Harrow Arts Centre
by Barry Witherden
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights" Live Reviews Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 18, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!