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Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson
@ the Barbican
13 November 2006

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Biography

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 marching bands.

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 market place’).

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.

Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.

Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson


Recommended
Listening

 

Thunderbird Belly Of The Sun Blue
New Moon Daughter Point of View Traveling Miles

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