Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

537

Cassandra Wilson: Thunderbird

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson reached the fulcrum of her career with the refreshingly organic Blue Light 'Til Dawn. Her releases before this 1993 Blue Note debut, including M-Base Collective collaborations in the 1980s, were warmly received if not completely inspired. With Blue Light, Wilson changed her creative paradigm, performing older and more eclectic music in a ferociously rustic and transmogrified manner. This spirit infused Wilson's next four Blue Note recordings, highlighting her expansive vocal palette. With the release of her sixth Blue Note recording, Glamoured, ten years later, the singer recalibrated her creative paradigm by composing a greater share of the songs and bringing more electricity into the picture.

On Thunderbird Wilson continues both trends, adding greater hip-hop and pop components to the mix. Wilson has also begun to close the wide sonic spaces that were typical of her earlier material by allowing more aggressive instrumental layering. All of this is done with mixed effect. The opening "Go to Mexico is perhaps the most solid example of Wilson's experimentation with sampling and loops. The piece has a much greater synthetic sound than her previous work. Wisely, the song is engineered (via producer T-Bone Burnett) with Wilson's greatest asset, her voice, out front. The Wallflower's "Closer to You is closer to her earlier efforts, but still bears a highly layered sound not heard on her earlier work.

Where Wilson remains without peer is on her interpretation of blues and country music. The stunning centerpieces to this recording are Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Easy Rider, the old country saw "Red River Valley, and Willie Dixon's "I Want to Be Loved. All three songs feature the buzz-saw razor of Colin Linden's electric slide guitar. "Easy Rider begins plaintively with Wilson and Linden sparring before it erupts into a seething blues lava flow, propelled by Linden and Keith Ciancia's keyboards. In contrast, "Red River Valley finds Wilson and Linden alone, transforming western country into country slide guitar blues a la Ry Cooder. Combining both approaches results in "I Want to be Loved, Wilson's greatest realization as a blues singer.

Wilson fully succeeds in her digital-electric experiment with the originals "It Would Be So Easy and "Poet, pop songs better than the majority heard on programmed radio. It is a provocative look at Wilson's expanding talent. However, this electric turn is not Wilson's best work... as are "Easy Rider, "Red River Valley and "I Want to Be Loved.


Track Listing: Go to Mexico; Closer to You; Easy Rider; It Would Be So Easy; Red River Valley; Poet; I Want to be Loved; Lost; Strike a Match; Tarot.

Personnel: Cassandra Wilson: vocals, guitar; T-Bone Burnett, Keb

Title: Thunderbird | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Beneath A Silver Moon

Beneath A Silver Moon

Cassandra Wilson
Silver Pony

Extended Analysis
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Profiles
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Read more articles
Cassandra Wilson: Coming Forth by Day

Cassandra Wilson:...

Legacy Recordings
2015

buy
Silver Pony

Silver Pony

Blue Note Records
2011

buy
Silver Pony

Silver Pony

Blue Note Records
2010

buy
Closer To You: The Pop Side

Closer To You: The...

Blue Note Records
2009

buy
Loverly

Loverly

Blue Note Records
2008

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jul11Thu
CASSANDRA WILSON
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$45.00
Jul11Thu
CASSANDRA WILSON
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$45.00
Jul12Fri
CASSANDRA WILSON
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$45.00
Jul12Fri
CASSANDRA WILSON
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$45.00
Jul13Sat
CASSANDRA WILSON
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$45.00
Jul13Sat
CASSANDRA WILSON
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$45.00
Jul14Sun
CASSANDRA WILSON
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$45.00

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Paint The Sky Album Reviews
Paint The Sky
By Andrew J. Sammut
February 21, 2019
Read God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be Album Reviews
God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be
By Karl Ackermann
February 21, 2019
Read Rhyme And Reason Album Reviews
Rhyme And Reason
By Mark Corroto
February 21, 2019
Read The Definition of Insanity Album Reviews
The Definition of Insanity
By Nicholas F. Mondello
February 21, 2019
Read Omhu Album Reviews
Omhu
By Jakob Baekgaard
February 21, 2019
Read In Between the Tumbling a Stillness Album Reviews
In Between the Tumbling a Stillness
By Karl Ackermann
February 20, 2019
Read Gary Album Reviews
Gary
By Dan McClenaghan
February 20, 2019