domingo, 19 de abril de 2009

Nina Simone - Wild Is the Wind / High Priestess of Soul (1990)

Of all the major singers of the late 20th century, Nina Simone was one of the hardest to classify. She recorded extensively in the soul, jazz, and pop idioms, often over the course of the same album. It's perhaps most accurate to label her as a "soul" singer in terms of emotion, rather than form. Like, say, Aretha Franklin, or Dusty Springfield, Simone was an eclectic who brought soulful qualities to whatever material she interpreted. These qualities were among her strongest virtues; paradoxically, they also may have kept her from attaining a truly mass audience. Simone's best recorded work was issued on Philips during the mid-'60s, a period that saw her issuing seven albums in three years. Wild Is the Wind, from 1966, was apparently a bit of a pastiche of leftovers from sessions for Nina Simone's four previous albums. But the material is certainly as strong and consistent as it is on her other mid-'60s LPs. The selections are almost unnervingly diverse, ranging from jazz ballads to traditional folk tunes (‘Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair’) to the near calypso of ‘Why Keep on Breaking My Heart’ to the somber, almost chilling title track. Highlights are two outstanding pop-soul numbers written by the pre-disco Van McCoy (‘Either Way I Lose,’ ‘Break Down and Let It All Out’) and ‘Four Women,’ a string of searing vignettes about the hardships of four African-American women that ranks as one of Simone's finest compositions. Perhaps a bit more conscious of contemporary soul trends than her previous albums, High Priestess of Soul (1967) is still very characteristic of her mid-'60s work in its eclecticism. Hal Mooney directs some large band arrangements for the material on this LP without submerging Simone's essential strengths. The more serious and introspective material is more memorable than the good-natured pop selections here. The highlights are her energetic vocal rendition of the Oscar Brown/Nat Adderley composition ‘Work Song’, the gospelish 'I'm Going Back Home' and her spiritual composition ‘Come Ye,’ on which Simone's inspirational vocals are backed by nothing other than minimal percussion. This 1990 reissue gathers both albums on one single cd.

Nina sings 'Four Women' at the Antibes Jazz Festival, 1965:

3 comentarios:

Nosi dijo...

TSI-NA-PAH dijo...

Gran dama ,si señora la escucho muy a menudo.

ka dijo...

Check a big bunch of her discography (downloadable) at: