JJ 08/93: Cassandra Wilson – After The Beginning Again

Thirty years ago, Simon Adams enjoyed hearing the innovative M-Base singer in a band featuring James Weidman and Kevin Bruce Harris. First published in Jazz Journal August 1993


Album by album, Cassandra Wilson is building on her status as one of the best young jazz singers around today. This new set, albeit now getting on for two years old, will add to that reputa­tion.

She is at her best on the slower numbers, most notably on the warhorse ’Round Midnight, where her understated delivery against a sparse accompaniment brings out well the poignancy of the theme. On more uptempo numbers, she tends to holler a bit too much, her deep voice becom­ing slightly strident as she strug­gles to stand out from the backing. But that is rare, for mostly she pitches in at just the right level.

Her band do her jus­tice, especially bassist Harris, heard to good effect on Sweet Black Night, his reverberative solo the highlight of the track. To my mind, Baubles is the out­standing track for the way the singer holds back on the line while at the same time carefully and precisely enunciating the title at the end of each chorus. Her delivery is faultless, the accompa­niment timeless. The rest of the album is in a similar vein.

There She Goes; ’Round Midnight; Yazoo Moon; Sweet Black Night; My Corner Of The Sky; Baubles, Bangles And Beads; Redbone; Summer Wind (42.02)
Cassandra Wilson (v); James Weidman (p/syn); Kevin Bruce Harris (elb); Mark Johnson (d/pc); Jeff Hayes (pc). Recorded Brooklyn, NYC, July-August 1991.
(JMT 514 001-2)