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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

Cassandra Wilson

Sings standards

VERVE 589 837-2



  1. Polka Dots & Moonbeams
  2. I Wished on the Moon
  3. ĎRound Midnight
  4. Angel
  5. Iíve Grown Accustomed to His Face
  6. Chelsea Bridge
  7. Iím Old Fashioned
  8. Baubles, Bangles and Beads
  9. Blue Skies
  10. Blue in Green
  11. Body & Soul

This album is a composite of tracks the enigmatic Miss Wilson made between 1985 and 1981, with four different backing trios. The albums they are taken from are Point of View, Blue Skies, She Who Weeps and After the Beginning Again.

The treatment of Polka Dots & Moonbeams, a delightful old tune, is interesting and effective, she manages to give it a new dimension without detracting from the quality of itís original conception. Mulgrew Miller on piano leads the rhythm section with distinction.

I Wish On The Moon has a backing of bass and drums only, but to compensate there is some fine trombone from Grachen Moncur III.

ĎRound About Midnight is less successful than the first two tracks, her version of the song is not an improvement on Monkís original

Angel is a swinging version of an Aretha Franklin hit and this time Iím with Cassandra, I prefer her version.

She is also at her best with Iíve Grown accustomed to his Face, once again Mulgrew Miller makes a significant contribution, together with bass player Lonnie Plexico.

Billy Strayhornís Chelsea Bridge finds Cassandra in wordless improvisation, a part of the jazz singers armoury in which she is very capable.

Iím Old Fashioned gets my vote for best track, good tempo great jazz feel excellent backing. Mulgrew Miller again!

In Baubles she starts the tune at the end, which is remarkably effective and produces an excellent version of the song.

Blue Skies is another pianoless track. There are not many singers that could carry this off as effectively as Cassandra Wilson.

Blue in Green is a composition of Miles Davies and Cassandra Wilson. Like a lot of Miles compositions it is depressing and this whole track to me was a disappointing, music to commit suicide to! I was not very much taken with Body and Soul either, tunes as good as this donít deserve to be mauled in this way. This version is in waltz time and the first of the original words is heard 2 minutes into the track.

This album confirms my previous thoughts about Cassandra Wilson; I have no doubt that she is one of a very few really important jazz singers. She constantly seeks out new treatments of her material and when she is successful the results are sublime. The problem is that sometimes the results are not good and her version is not effective. The problem is that she doesnít seem to know the difference!

Don Mather


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