Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cassandra Wilson: There's enough room at the table.

Cassandra Wilson (c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Wilson, Goddess of jazz without boundaries,
headlined last night at Lincoln Center Out of Doors
in an Americanafest show
presented in association with Americana Music Association.

This year marks the 20th anniversary
of Wilson's landmark Blue Light ‘til Dawn
and the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme.
Preparing the stage for Cassandra Wilson's band
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

A perfect evening at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park Bandshell,
opened by the celebratory sacred steel of The Campbell Brothers
 who bring Pentecostal fervor and hard-charging, often deliriious funk
to shimmering pedal and lap steel guitars.

These instruments, most closely associated with Hawaiian music,
are also part of the Black gospel tradition of churches
such as Nashville's House of God (Keith Dominion),
where the talented Campbells got their start.
Top photo: Pedal steel guitarist Chuck Campbell
Below, left: Darick Campbell
Center: Phillip Campbell; Right: Carl Campbell
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

The Campbells first beckoned us into healing waters ("Wade in the Water")
and encouraged us, if at all possible, to do the right thing ("Hell, no! Heaven, yes!").
But if their personal motives are deeply religious, their interpretations
of Miles Davis, Sam Cooke and especially Coltrane--
spinning and swinging "A Love Supreme" into "A Sacred Steel Love Supreme"--
come with an infinite and irresistible supply of hot sauce.
They have become my favorite party band.
Phillip Campbell and Carl Campbell
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Cassandra Wilson
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Wilson's got Spirit on the mainline, too,
taking a moment between tunes to pass this message without explanation:
"Spirit told me to tell you, 'There's enough room at the table.'"
Later in the set, she called Papa Legba and his fellow African Powers,
easily slip-sliding her chant into yet another coded message:
"I know I'll be in that number/when I study war no more."
Cassandra Wilson
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Like the Campbells, this diva unites heaven and earth,
showing us the crow, "black and ragged," "flying tree to tree"
and dipping low in search of "every shiny thing" (Joni Mitchell's "Black Crow").
She's a blues mama with a voice like warm "Tupelo Honey" (thank you, Van Morrison)
taking her sweet time all through Robert Johnson's "Hell Hound on My Trail."
Cassandra Wilson
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

In the pretty ballad "Tell Me You'll Wait for Me,"
her voice becomes slow-drifting smoke but not at all dry.
In "Come On In My Kitchen," it cuts loose,
rich and bursting with juice.
Cassandra Wilson
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Cassandra Wilson
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Despite the desperate feel of "Children of the Night,"
Wilson and her band turn the lilting Thom Bell/Linda Creed song
into a lush celebration--no doubt in anyone's mind
that the lonely soul walking the shadows late at night
often finds "someone who is just like me/looking for some company"
and makes an amazing time of it.
Cassandra Wilson
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Cassandra Wilson
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Cassandra Wilson
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
And you can have an amazing time, too. Click here for the video from Lincoln Center Out of Door's livestream.

Lincoln Center Out of Doors 2014 concludes tomorrow. For information on remaining LCOOD/AmericanaFest events--including tonight's show with Roseanne Cash--click here.

No comments:

Copyright notice

Copyright © 2007-2018 Eva Yaa Asantewaa
All Rights Reserved

Popular Posts