Her resonating contralto voice eases its way deeply into your inner thoughts. Few can escape the magic that Cassandra Wilson's vocal interpretations bring to the jazz forum. Her program on Glamoured, steeped in the blues and pregnant with the tidings of pop culture, offers the jazz fan an eclectic taste from the many different worlds of music. She captures a world beat texture through a variety of instrumental sounds. She captures the heart and soul of the blues every time she relates her personal experience to the listener. And she captures the spirit of jazz through her wordless improvisation and through sharing with her ensemble. One would have to be deeply disturbed somewhat apart from the social norm and opposed to the "universal language" aspect of music to profess a dislike for the art that Cassandra Wilson serves up on this latest volume.
As she trades scatted fours with harmonica virtuoso Gregoire Maret, Wilson buries her critics in the sand. The relaxed ease with which she moves gracefully from phrase to phrase, seamlessly wraps up each story in an easy to understand environment. Congas, a firm-handed upright bass, endless drum set textures, and stellar guitar interludes & accompaniment from partner Fabrizio Sotti give the program strength. Willie Nelson's "Crazy" and Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" appear in the room as old friends. Muddy Waters' "Honey Bee," complete with washboard and soaring electric guitar, drives down the highway in 6/8 time with sung instructions about the way things have gotta be. "On This Train" brings us a blues tale of love and longing, while Abbey Lincoln's "Threw It Away" reminds us of the things we've let pass and may someday regret. The positive message that Wilson relates about everlasting love and how it never really fadescomes to life through her interpretation.
Wilson tells us that "glamoured" is a Gaelic word that means "whisked away." With her fourteenth album as leader, she's done just that for us. She's whisked us away from our daily grind and helped us to hop the train with her: the train to satisfaction with our musical discoveries.
Track Listing: Fragile; Sleight of Time; I Want More; If Loving You Is Wrong; Lay Lady Lay; Crazy; What Is it?;
Heaven Knows; Honey Bee; Broken Drum; On this Train; Threw It Away.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.