Cassandra Wilson

Coming Forth by Day

This lush, contemplative take on the music of Billie Holiday is anything but a typical tribute album. To begin with, Cassandra Wilson commands so much respect as a vocalist in her own right that anything resembling an imitation of Holiday’s distinctive tone is out of the question. Wilson connects with Lady Day much more by mood and intuition than by any superficial vocal resemblance. Add to that the fact that this record represents a significant departure for her in terms of production and collaboration; Wilson recorded Coming Forth by Day with producer Nick Launay (Arcade Fire, Nick Cave) and an ensemble featuring T Bone Burnett and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on guitars, Van Dyke Parks arranging the elaborate string parts, and the rhythm section from the Bad Seeds (Thomas Wydler and Martyn P. Casey). While it’s hard to imagine this supergroup will be the one onstage at UCSB’s Campbell Hall when Wilson arrives there on February 22, one can dream. The album reveals yet another aspect of this visionary artist’s immense talent, as Wilson ventures into the orchestral territory mapped out by Arcade Fire, with her sainted muse Billie Holiday by her side.

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