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Cassandra Wilson Goes Back to Her Roots with 'Loverly'


Grammy Award winning vocalist Cassandra Wilson is known for her unconventional interpretation of the Great American songbook. As VOA's Doug Levine tells us, Wilson proves why less is more on her latest album of jazz standards, Loverly.

Quiet elegance might best describe Cassandra Wilson's distinctive singing style, finding the essence of the song in the spaces between the beats. It's a style that fans heard on her very first album of standards more than 20 years ago, right through to her latest collection of timeless jazz tunes.

Wilson admits that she is drawn to standards she can relate to personally. She says, "You can't really sing them until you understand them."

Take the jazz classic "Spring Can Hang You Up The Most," a song Wilson treats as meditative reflection.

Loverly marks a return to Cassandra Wilson's roots, literally. The five-day recording sessions took place at a converted studio in a rented house in Wilson's hometown, Jackson, Mississippi.

It was in Jackson where Wilson first discovered her love for jazz, blues, pop and folk music. She studied classical piano, clarinet and guitar, before moving to New Orleans, Louisiana, and later New York City, to pursue jazz.

Wilson advanced her career with avante garde jazz artists Steve Coleman and Henry Threadgill. As a member of the so-called "M-Base" collective of jazz innovators, she developed her skills as a composer, arranger and improviser, leading to her signing with Blue Note Records in 1993.

In support of her new album, Wilson is getting ready for a tour of Canada, Europe and the U.S., with concerts at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

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