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Wilson Heats Up S.F.

Cassandra Wilson Cassandra Wilson Morrice Blackwell
Cassandra Wilson stood on stage and confessed that she wanted to sing in one place for a year.

The audience answered by making the case for San Francisco to be just the spot to realize that wish.

The acclaimed singer had the crowd from her opening tune, "Caravan." Known for her adventurous repertoire, Wilson performed a stellar, although short, set that stretched from jazz standards to an old blues number. The show was part of Wilson’s six-night run at the splashy new Yoshi’s in San Francisco. This is a sister club to Yoshi's in Oakland, which has long been the region’s premier jazz spot.

Wilson was in strong form, performing with an outstanding five-piece band that was given plenty of room to shine. Guitarist Marvin Sewell served as her musical director. Early in the show, Wilson dedicated a song to pianist Jonathan Batiste, who looked surprised by the move. He then followed her lead, accompanying Wilson on a lovely duet of "The Nearness of You."

Wilson has a low, luxurious voice that is something you feel as much as you hear. It resonates, hanging in the air long after the note has passed her lips. Her voice grew richer and deeper with each song.

On this cold winter night, Wilson warmed the room by concentrating on a selection of standards. Her choices included "Them There Eyes" and "I’ve Got The World On A String." These songs came as a surprise. She has performed such standards before, but she has never been one to draw too heavily from that pool of material. Instead, she has infused her work with liberal doses of folk, rock, and blues music.

Wilson is preparing to release a new CD for Blue Note, her longtime label. The new album is said to be influenced by New Orleans.

She made no reference to the CD on this night, but before leaving she broke into a smile and then into "When The Saints Going Marching In." It may be a taste of what’s to come.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Cassandra Wilson
  • Concert Date: 2/1/2008
  • Venue: Yoshi's
  • City State Country: San Francisco
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