Old and New
“’Til There Was You” is a light and cheerful groove, and Wilson occasionally doles out her rich, satiny voice, which unfurls out of whispers. Toward the end of the song, the intensity grows, and Wilson uses her voice like a brush, painting streaks of color amid Moran’s bright splatters. “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most” is accompanied by Sewell’s steel-stringed acoustic guitar, which sharpens the smooth roundness of Wilson’s tone. Hinting at the music of James Brown, “St. James Infirmary” awakens some of the subtler timbres in Wilson’s voice. “Dust My Broom” is a silty blues that draws the most intensity out of her, in the form of sass and the occasional shout.
Not everything on Loverly works. Wilson’s voice is perfectly suited for breathy, glacial ballads and earthy grooves. But on the upbeat “Lover Come Back to Me,” she sounds slightly enervated. The same is true on the medium swung “Sleepin’ Bee.” The music wants to build, but Wilson caps off the arch at a low point, staying subdued and sultry throughout.
In general, Loverly balances the lush beauty of Cassandra Wilson’s tone with playful yet restrained backing from a sensitive and inventive band. The music has an inviting intimacy, perhaps owing to the fact that the tracks were recorded in a house that Wilson rented in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. Periodically, when Wilson Steps away from the microphone during a band member’s solo, you can here her offer vocal smatterings of encouragement.
Loverly is celebration of the jazz song, treated with both reverence and forward-looking experimentation by one of today’s vocal stars.
June 10th, 2008 on Blue Note Records
- Cassandra Wilson – Vocals
- Martin Sewell – Guitars
- Jason Moran – Piano
- Lonnie Plaxico – Bass
- Reginald Veal –Bass on track 11
- Herlin Riley – Drums
- Lekan Babalola – Percussion
- Rhonda Richmond – Background Vocals on track 8
- Nicholas Payton – Trumpet on Track 1
- Lover Come Back to Me
- Black Orpheus
- Wouldn’t it be Loverly
- Gone With the Wind
- ‘Til There Was You
- Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
- St. James Infirmary
- Dust My Broom
- The Very Thought of You
- Sleepin’ Bee