Colpix CP/SCP 496 (1966 US)
Nina Simone has been the subject of countless accolades. She has, over the years, become one of the best known interpretors of songs, both on records as well as in other medium. She is equally at home on the concert stage as she is in the darkened shadows of a smokey night club.
Nina Simone in many things, but she has always been first, a superb musician. Her piano and her voice give evidence to this. She is a musician with a complete understanding of both the lyric, as well the melodic content of a song. Her repertoire ranges from blues, to folk, to semi-classical to gospel. She is everything that she needs to be to make a song ring true, to make it an emotional experience for both herself and the listener.
For the record, the musician was born in Tryon, North Carolina, the product of musical parents and one of eight children. Her musical activities began with the piano at the age of four. Later, Nina sang spirituals in school, her singing was already influenced by Marian Anderson and her jazz piano by the Negro folk blues of the South. At 17, Nina moved on to Philadelphia were she earned her keep teaching piano and then accompanying a variety of pop singers. She also continues her own studies with two years at Juilliard School of Music.
So much for past history. The real history of Nina Simone is being made every time she sits down to the piano. The real story is the way she works the songs in this new collection.
In this album, Nina's piano and voice is given a warm, flowing string accompaniment. It eloquently compliments Nina approach to the songs included in this set. The strings follow Nina, never imposing or distracting from her phrasing, her timing or her instinctive "feel" for song. She runs the gamut of emotions throughout the recording. She is with one number, light, gay, off-handed, with the next romantic and loving, and with still another sad, wistful and intense. Included in her selection is her classic rendition of Gershwin "I Love [sic] You Porgy."
This is Nina Simone in a rare performance, a performance filled with magnificent moments. This is Nina Simone the vocalist, Nina Simone the pianist, but most of all Nina Simone the musician.