Compact Jazz: Nina Simone

by: Nina Simone

When Nina Simone was in her prime as the premier African-American singer/pianist in music, there's was no popular artist who was going to touch her in terms of sheer talent. This Compact Jazz collection of 16 of her songs falls short of a greatest-hits package, as it is missing some evergreens like "I Loves You, Porgy" and "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl," among others. Still, it's a good cross section of her ballads, blues, jazz interpretations, and strong-willed protest and statement songs. Included are classics "My Baby Just Cares for Me," "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair," "Mood Indigo," her eerie version of "Strange Fruit," the atypical string-laden and dour "I Put a Spell on You," and "Sinner Man." It's a pretty solid collection considering what is left out, and a very good introduction to her large and diverse discography. ~ Michael G. Nastos

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