Monday, February 21, 2011
Cassandra Wilson: Silver Pony
Cassandra, I would follow you anywhere.
Worse, there are a few tunes here that just seem like filler, particularly a couple of "songs" that are merely excepts of jams from a live show, one presented on its own and the other given lyrics and worked into something new. "A Night in Seville" and the title track are going nowhere fast.
It's not all live, too, which adds to my sense that this is an oddly stitched-together program. I dig some of the new stuff—a great "Forty Days and Forty Nights", which is a fresh take on Muddy Waters, and wonderfully spare "If It's Magic," from Stevie's brilliant Songs in the Key of Life. I also like the new band, particularly young pianist Jonathan Batiste.
If you love Cassandra Wilson, you'll find other good stuff here as well—a duet with John Legend, a ripping slide guitar solo, a neat reharmonization of "Blackbird." But Silver Pony is a grab-bag of stuff, not a great new album. I expect something more impressive next time from my favorite jazz singer.