Monday, June 23, 2008

Cassandra Wilson - Loverly (2008)

Cassandra Wilson's Loverly is amongst the singer's most straight-ahead and stripped down albums since her debut for Blue Note fifteen years ago with Blue Light 'Til Dawn (Blue Note, 1993). Self-produced, and recorded in a rented house in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi with little artifice, simple arrangements and a great sound, Wilson and a core quintet of regular playing partners deliver ten standards, Robert Johnson's “Dust My Blues,” and one band original, the West African-derived “Arere."

Wilson hasn't sounded this good for some time—elegant, unforced and buoyant. And in the rhythm. Most of the tracks are underpinned by kit drummer Herlin Riley and Nigerian drummer and percussionist Lekan Babalola. Wilson calls herself the “unproducer,” but her decision to create Loverly's arrangements from the drums up, starting with rhythm patterns suggested by Babalola and Riley, contributes immensely to a set shot through with mettle.

Great songs, great singing, and a great band. Lovely indeed.

(By Chris May -

Cassandra Wilson Official site

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