Cassandra Wilson is one of those jazz stalwarts that need no introduction. Her music and her sultry alto speak for itself and she's one of the most talented jazz vocalist/composers of the day. With that said, Wilson is good at anything she attempts to sing, even if it's singing the alphabet song. She's that impressive.
For a complimentary review on Wilson's latest CD "Thunderbird", one has to be a longstanding fan of hers who has gotten to know her style intimately. If not, then you may well think the music is boring. Clearly, this type of music isn't for a jazz novice. It would be like trying to feed chicken to a newborn.
The music here is of a more mature level, where Wilson's signature hybrid of jazz and blues takes center-stage. "Go to Mexico" is the first track that has underlying hip-hop currents that sounds like two different songs rather than an interpolation. "Closer to You" is a cutesy ballad with new age samples moving in and out of the single. Hear Cassandra's mellow voice against the backdrop of a lone guttural-type guitar melody on "Easy Rider" and the bluesy "I Want to be Loved."
Those who listen would admit that ten-track CD is like night and day. The first few tracks may have been lazy, but there is a lot happening closer to the end. However, it must be said that the real prize for beauty on this compilation goes to "Poet," the simple, but effective "Lost" and the acapella-infused "Red River Valley."