Cassandra Wilson | Loverly

Blue Note
By JON GARELICK  |  June 9, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
With its Lerner & Loewe title track from My Fair Lady and its evening-gown-and-earrings CD-jacket portrait, Cassandra Wilson’s latest suggests a retrenchment. So does its standards-heavy program. But this is a masterpiece in the old meaning of the term: a summation of everything Wilson has learned, from the in-depth interpretations of the jazz book through her hip-hop leanings with the old Brooklyn M-Base crowd, her breakthrough reconfigurations of the jazz-singer/band set-up with producer Craig Street, and 2006’s techy-roots Thunderbird with T Bone Burnett. Producing herself this time, she emphasizes in-the-pocket grooves and the intimacy of her own lush contralto, up front in the mix, right near your ear, a slow velvet wave of rhythm floating in over fast beats. Every song, no matter how familiar, is transformed by one detail or another: the retro-swing up-tempo “Lover Come Back to Me,” with Nicholas Payton’s muted trumpet obbligato; the insistent single-note tattoo from pianist Jason Moran on “Caravan”; Marvin Sewell’s acoustic guitar on the duet “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most”; the bass/vocal joint with Reginald Veal on “The Very Thought of You”; Sewell’s perfect groove on “St. James Infirmary” and solo on Robert Johnson’s “Dust My Broom.” This is the greatest-hits album Wilson never made.
Related: Cassandra Wilson, Sense in the sound, Year in Jazz: Playing for keeps, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Robert Johnson, T-Bone Burnett, Jason Moran,  More more >
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