@ the Barbican
13 November 2006
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Cassandra Wilson was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Her
first instrument was the piano (which she studied for 13 years).
Wilson also played the clarinet in junior high school concerts and
During the 1970’s Wilson performed Joni Mitchell songs with
an acoustic guitar. She could also be found performing in front
of large funk bands and various all-girl-bands.
Wilson moved to New Orleans in the 1980’s. Here she would
gain valuable experience performing with soprano saxophonist Earl
Turbinton, and jazz pianist, composer and educator Ellis Marsalis.
After relocating to East Orange, New Jersey, Wilson decided to explore
the New York Jazz scene. A brief appearance as the main vocalist
with Steve Coleman’s M-Base Collective would give Wilson the
springboard for her solo career.
1985 saw the release of the albums “Point of View”
and “Songbook”, followed by “Days Aweigh”
in 1987. The acclaimed jazz standards driven “Blue Skies”
was released a year later. “New Moon Daughter”, released
in 1996 earned Wilson a Grammy Award and further acclaim from a
wider audience. High points on this album include the surprisingly
catchy rendition of “Last Train To Clarksville”(originally
performed by the Monkey’s) juxtaposed with the haunting, but
infectious melody of “Little Warm Death”.
Wilson returned to Mississippi in 2000. Here she would establish
the Ojuh Media Group (Ojuh – Yoruba word meaning ‘the
Cassandra Wilson’s voice has been described as ‘having
the depth and texture of a great tenor saxophonist’, earthy,
dark & provocative and beguiling by critics and fans - Depressing,
moody and deeply unbearable by others. One thing for sure, Wilson’s
voice is distinctive. Her popularity has grown with each live recording
and subsequent album release.
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.