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The Dartmouth
April 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Wilson features diverse repertoire in concert

Featuring an eclectic repertoire ranging from lush-tender love songs to scouring roadhouse jazz, Cassandra Wilson, did not disappoint her audience last Friday in the Spaulding Auditorium of the Hopkins Center for the Performing Arts.

Beginning with the title cover from her ninth and latest album "Blue Light 'Til Dawn," one of 1994's top selling jazz albums, Wilson ended and began with the same enthusiastic zeal which she sustained throughout the night.

This love for music and jazz in particular was readily seen as Wilson stunned the crowd with her hearty, brazen voice. A natural, the chantreuse possessed a voice as versatile as any instrument's.

Wilson was able to command the stage with her blustery interpretations of old and new standards including a rendition of a Stevie Wonder classic and a jazz favorite "Redbone."

Wilson also featured the selections "Solomon" and "Memphis" from her up-and-coming tenth album which she said would be finished next year. Lauded as the Sarah Vaughan of her generation by music critics, Wilson was the gem of the performance although the troupe of musicians she brought were also very adept.

Silhouetted by a rather small set which included the piano, drums, bass and percussion, Wilson could not have chosen a better group of people.

The band quartet provided an excellent background to Wilson's mellifluous voice. The piano player was remarkable and the listeners never knew what odd rhythmic embellishments the percussionist would bring out from his grab bag o' unique perfidies which included keys and a metal triangle.

"Blue Skies," Wilson's eighth album established the vocalist as a professional in her field and it was her first on the Blue Note label.

In addition to her success with her albums, Wilson has also enjoyed relationships with such Hollywood icons as Wynton Marsalis, Van Morrison, and the artist formerly known as Prince.

"I continue to choose the path I take musically," she told the New York Times.

"And it's not motivated by becoming famous or having a lot of money, or any other pop aspiration,"she added.

As most listeners remarked, there were only two things inherently wrong with the program: it was too short and the chairs were a little too confining. I, for one, wanted to dance.