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Spotlights [Issue # 5 ]
Cassandra Wilson: Glamoured

By Jason Sklar

Are you ready to be whisked away? Whether sitting in traffic, lying out in your backyard, or trying to mellow out after work, Cassandra Wilson’s Glamoured will help you dismiss your troubles and refocus you on nothing in particular.

Glamoured, the 14th installment from the artist recognized as America’s best singer by Time Magazine in 2001, is "like being in a dream," says Wilson. It captures those "split seconds when you're transfixed and your eyes don't move and you have to shake yourself out of it.”
From Wilson's mellow samba take on Sting's "Fragile" to her bass-and-vocal duo on Abbey Lincoln's "Throw It Away," Glamoured arouses thoughts of a mellow river cruise through a tropical rainforest just as much as it conjures the smell of hot java in the hippest of hip coffee shops.
Following the initial recording dates in Wilson’s hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, she was pleased with what had been laid down, but felt the record needed more to feel complete. After the Mississippi dates she headed to NYC where she met Italian producer and guitarist Fabrizio Sotti. Sotti and Wilson shared an "instant rapport," says Wilson. "He intrigued me—he has a strong jazz background but he’s living in a hip-hop world, and I thought it would be interesting to see what he could bring to a project where jazz is the foundation." Glamoured reflects Wilson's relationship, as it blends Sotti's Euro-Latin flavorings with the Mississippi twang that Wilson was raised on.

Though Wilson is often revered as a stellar jazz vocalist, this album showcases that she is fully capable of singing in any genre. It is no easy task to string together iconic hits from Sting, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Muddy Waters and manage to throw in some original material. But Wilson pulls it off with the greatest of ease.

Jazz albums often contain 8-minute epic-length songs with drawn out solos, but all the songs on Glamoured have a pop-like running time between three to five minutes. Even with a shorter running time Wilson retains the sophistication of an accomplished musician.

While the album diverges from the jazz genre, its jazz roots distinguish its coverage of pop tunes. This is not just another cover album with space-filling originals, but rather it is a cohesive album where Wilson makes every song her own. No wonder Wilson brought in bassist Reginald Veal and drummer Herlin Riley, both standard sidemen for acclaimed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Coupled with the harmonica shadings of Gregoire Maret and percussion pattings of Jeffrey Haynes, this unique rhythm section supplies the bed for the mystical dream that Wilson serenades.

Glamoured may lull you to sleep, comfort you with a book or even temporarily sedate you. It does not overpower, but rejuvenates as it relaxes. Think of it as a warm island breeze that runs through the deep south of Mississippi up North through the hustle-bustle of Manhattan and right through your personal stereo.

Blue Note

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