Cassandra Wilson is a jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer from Jackson, Mississippi. Described by critic Gary Giddins as "a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack who has expanded the playing field" by incorporating blues, country and folk music into her work. She began playing piano at six, guitar by the age of twelve and was working as a vocalist by the mid-'70s, singing a wide variety of material. After moving to New York City in the early 80’s, Cassandra met saxophonist Steve Coleman and became one of the founding members of the M-Base Collective. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released a landmark album titled Blue Light ‘Til Dawn which would pave the way for a new generation of jazz singers seeking an approach and repertoire that challenges the supremacy of the American Standard songbook. Wilson has continued interpreting in fresh and creative ways vintage blues, country and folk music up until the present day. Her awards include: two Grammys, the Django D’Or, The Edison Music Award, a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail, and the 2012 Echo Award for Jazz. She also performed one of the leading roles in Wynton Marsalis' Blood on the Fields, the first jazz work to receive a Pulitzer Prize.

Genre defying vocalist Cassandra Wilson's latest album, Another Country, represents a strong departure from her previous material focusing largely on guitar-oriented sounds. To foster this new musical direction she again collaborated with jazz guitarist/producer Fabrizio Sotti, with whom she worked with on 2002’s Glamoured. The two started from scratch in Wilson’s New Orleans home studio composing arrangements and an entire album’s worth of material by combining her lyrics with Sotti’s guitar-centric instrumentation. Sotti says “She is a total and complete musician/artist not just an outstanding voice/instrument.” Wilson and Sotti moved the sessions to Florence, Italy where they sought to keep the recordings spare by working with a minimalist band. The group includes Mino Cinelu on percussion, accordion master Julien Labro, Italian bass player Nicola Sorato and African master percussionist Lekan Babalola which rounded out the album’s sound.

Cassandra Wilson »

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