Cassandra Wilson – Coming Forth by Day: A Tribute to Billie Holiday (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 00:58:15 minutes | 1,17 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Legacy Recordings
A musical homage to legendary jazz vocalist Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915) on the 100th anniversary of the singer’s birth, Coming Forth By Day is Cassandra Wilson’s moody, soulful showcase for contemporary yet timeless interpretations of standards associated with Lady Day. Coming Forth By Day was produced by Nick Launay, known as Nick Cave’s producer for the last decade among many other adventurous credits.
“Cassandra Wilson is one of the world’s most elegant and tasteful artists. Her decision to channel the spirit of Billie Holiday on her new album is a perfect complement to Legacy’s plans for celebrating Lady Day’s centennial,” said Adam Block. “It’s an absolute treat to work with Cassandra in the realization of this unexpected and sublimely beautiful music.”
Wilson recorded Coming Forth By Day in Los Angeles at Seedy Underbelly studios with an A list musical team including producer Launay (Nick Cave, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Arcade Fire), guitarists T Bone Burnett and Nick Zinner of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, string arranger Van Dyke Parks and rhythm section The Bad Seeds (drummer Thomas Wydler and bassist Martyn P. Casey).
“A dream of mine is happening,” said Cassandra Wilson, “I’ve been in love with Billie Holiday’s voice since the moment I heard it, and she has inspired me throughout my career.”
Perhaps the pairing of Cassandra Wilson and Billie Holiday carries a whiff of inevitability, but there’s nothing predictable about Coming Forth by Day. Released to coincide with Holiday’s centennial in 2015, Coming Forth by Day explicitly celebrates Lady Day by drawing upon standards she sang in addition to songs she wrote, but Wilson deliberately sidesteps the conventional by hiring Nick Launay as a producer. As a result of his work with Nick Cave, Launay mastered a certain brand of spooky Americana, something that comes in handy with the Holiday catalog, but Coming Forth by Day is never too thick with murk. It luxuriates in its atmosphere, sometimes sliding into a groove suggesting smooth ’70s soul, often handsomely evoking a cinematic torch song — moods that complement each other and suggest Holiday’s work without replicating it. This is a neat trick: such flexibility suggests how adaptable Holiday’s songbook is while underscoring the imagination behind Wilson’s interpretations. Certainly, Launay deserves credit for his painterly production, but the success of Coming Forth by Day belongs entirely to Wilson, who proves that she’s an heir to Holiday’s throne by never once imitating her idol. -Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic
Though it’s disheartening to realize that even an artist as eminent as Cassandra Wilson had to turn to PledgeMusic to fund her centenary salute to Billie Holiday, it’s best to set aside such state-of-things ponderings and focus on the outcome. Which is, in a word, exquisite. It’s also clever, insightful and, though utterly respectful to Holiday as source and touchstone, strikingly original.
To achieve her reimagining of 11 Holiday-associated selections, Wilson assembled a remarkably diverse team, spearheaded by producer Nick Launay, best known for his work outside the jazz milieu, most notably with Nick Cave, Arcade Fire and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Van Dyke Parks, strongly associated with the Beach Boys, was brought in to write the string arrangements. Joining two of Wilson’s longtime collaborators, pianist Jon Cowherd and guitarist Kevin Breit, are guitarists T Bone Burnett and the Yeahs’ Nick Zinner and, from Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds, drummer Thomas Wydler and bassist Martyn P. Casey. Their alchemic blending is dense and mysterious, atavistic yet modern. Even Wilson’s voice seems cast a shade darker, a degree fuller. |
The typically disconsolate “Good Morning Heartache” becomes cunningly furtive and shot through with anger. “Strange Fruit” brilliantly escalates from simmer to slow boil to lightning-bolt fury. “All of Me” shimmers with otherworldly seductiveness. “I’ll Be Seeing You” inches along like a ghostly funeral cortege. And Wilson adds one stunning original, “Last Song (for Lester),” a tenderly imagined adieu from Holiday to Prez, her paramour and landmark musical partner. -Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes
1 Don’t Explain 04:34
2 Billie’s Blues 05:07
3 Crazy He Calls Me 06:19
4 You Go to My Head 04:08
5 All of Me 04:06
6 The Way You Look Tonight 03:50
7 Good Morning Heartache 04:57
8 What a Little Moonlight Can Do 04:08
9 These Foolish Things 04:13
10 Strange Fruit 04:55
11 I’ll Be Seeing You 06:08
12 Last Song (For Lester) 05:50