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Brilliant in spite of its ragged texture, Cassandra Wilson's Silver Pony justly illuminates the important influence Wilson has had on all jazz vocals, since her artistic breakthrough with 1993's Blue Light 'Til Dawn (Blue Note). A sharp solution of live and studio performances, Silver Pony reveals the depth and breadth of both Wilson's enigmatic singing and instrumentation, that rich Delta organic approach disseminating throughout all of jazz vocals of the past 20 years. Always close to the blues, Wilson puts forth an extended live "Saddle Up My Pony," originally recorded by Charlie Patton in 1929, that succinctly frames her earthy method.
Humid as a Mississippi thunderstorm, Marvin Sewell's dependable bottleneck guitar sets up a nervous vibe as deep as a cotton row and soulfully sanctified as the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio on a dusty August afternoon. Wilson summons all of her considerable talents and influences in transforming this canonical piece into a soul serenade. Pianist Jon Batiste adds piquant seasoning, a musical pilgrim who finds his place at the same time that Sewell begins his Southern grotesque solo. Sewell emerges as perhaps the most important element in Wilson's sound; it is magic that Wilson and her band conjure here. Be careful, the mojo is strong and the gris- gris molten.
Personnel: Cassandra Wilson: vocals, synthesizer; Jonathan Batiste: piano; Marvin
Sewell: electric guitar; Reginald Veal: electric bass; Herlin Riley: drums;
Lekan Babalola: percussion.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...