Cassandra Wilson: Belly Of The Sun (2002)
Senior Contributor since 1997Jim Santella has been contributing CD reviews, concert reviews and DVD reviews to AAJ since 1997. His work has also appeared in Southland Blues, The L.A. Jazz Scene, and Cadence Magazine.
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Returning to her Mississippi blues roots, singer Cassandra Wilson interprets the stories like no one else can. Her warm, contralto voice hypnotizes. Surrounded by the natural sound of her 6-piece touring band, Wilson settles in for a refreshing look at Americana. Plaintive guitar cries and hands-down percussion provide a natural landscape. Steel pans, dobro, hand drums, and gentle, foot-stompin' rhythms give her traditional session credibility.
Guests add variety. Boogaloo Ames supplies an unencumbered, barrelhouse accompaniment for two traditional songs. The duo simplicity of singer with piano makes them shine with a special element – a lesson in history. Their charming interpretation inspires. Elsewhere, Wilson adds variety in form. "Show Me a Love" and "Road So Clear" caress a modern, electric blues message. "Hot Tamales" and "You Gotta Move," recorded in a railroad boxcar, come from way back, drawing upon spiritual and field holler roots. India.Arie's vocal duet with Wilson pierces the heart with its soul-stirring message. While Jobim's "Waters of March" does not fit the tried-and-true formula, it allows Wilson the opportunity to lighten her session with a message that speaks, nevertheless, the same language as the blues: a promise of good times ahead. A highly recommended album, Belly Of The Sun returns to the land where it all began and takes us along for a soul stirring ride.
Track Listing: The Weight; Justice; Darkness on the Delta; Waters of March; You Gotta Move; Only a Dream in Rio; Just Another Parade; Wichita Lineman; Shelter From the Storm; Rock Me Baby; Cooter Brown; Little Lion; Show Me a Love; Road So Clear; Hot Tamales.
Personnel: Cassandra Wilson- vocals; Marvin Sewell, Kevin Breit- guitar; Mark Peterson- bass; Xavyon Jamison- drums; Cyro Baptista, Jeffrey Haynes- percussion; Guests: Olu Dara- trumpet on "Road So Clear;" Rhonda Richmond- piano on "Road So Clear;" Jesse Robinson- guitar on "Show Me a Love;" Boogaloo Ames- piano on "Darkness on the Delta and "Rock Me Baby;" Jewell Bass- vocals on "Only a Dream in Rio;" Vasti Jackson- vocals on "Only a Dream in Rio;" Patrice Moncell- vocals on "Only a Dream in Rio;" Henry Rhodes- vocals on "Only a Dream in Rio;" India.Arie- vocal on "Just Another Parade;" Children's choir from M.S. 44 in New York- vocals on "Waters of March."