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New Moon Daughter

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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Cassandra Wilson (vocals, acoustic guitar); Graham Haynes, Lawrence "Butch" Morris (coronet); Tony Cedras (accordion); Dougie Bowne (vibraphone, drums, percussion); Charlie Burnham (violin); Gary Breit (Hammond B-3 organ); Brandon Ross (acoustic, electric & octave guitars); Kevin Breit (acoustic, resophonic & electric guitars, tenor banjo, Irish bozouki); Chris Whitley (resophonic guitar); Gib Wharton (pedal steel); Lonnie Plaxico, Marc Anthony Peterson (bass); Jeff Haynes (percussion); Cyro Baptista (percussion, jews harp); The Peepers (background vocals).
  • Recorded at Turtle Creek Barn, Bearsville, New York and Sound On Sound, New York, New York.
  • NEW MOON DAUGHTER won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.
  • From the opening cut, a jagged, ominous deconstruction of Billie Holiday's classic "Strange Fruit," it's clear that there is something unusual going on here. Cassandra Wilson is essentially coming at pop tunes from a jazz singer's perspective. Of course many other singers, from Nina Simone to Tony Bennett, have done this before; what sets Wilson apart is that rather than making faux standards out of contemporary songs, she uses her jazz chops to approach the material from an entirely new direction. The result is a bold amalgam that is neither pop nor jazz, but owes debts to both traditions.
  • Producer Craig Street gives Wilson's adventurous tendencies full reign as she goes on to cover Hank Williams, the Monkees and U2. This time Street, who also produced 1993's BLUE LIGHT 'TIL DAWN, focuses a little more on her unusual, Joni Mitchell-esque open tunings on acoustic guitar, and there are more original Wilson compositions, which also echo middle-period Joni. Betwixt all those tools and the classic pop material, Wilson creates a new world in which her voice moves freely through genre lines with grace and vitality.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (3/21/96, p.100) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...this is an album of such elegant melodies and emotion that Wilson should transcend the jazz genre as easily as Alison Krauss has transcended bluegrass..."

Entertainment Weekly (3/8/96, pp.62-63) - "...Treating pop songs without snobbery, unafraid to muddy the perceptions of what a jazz singer should and shouldn't do, Wilson continues her beguiling journey into pop's heart of darkness." - Rating: A-

Down Beat (4/95, p.45) - 5 Stars (out of 5) - "Instant classic....A warmly inviting and authentic voice promoting multicultural roots, who imbues all she appropriates with genius far surpassing post-modern gloss, Wilson recasts the American songbook....What's so satisfying is that Wilson's realizations revivify material from within their original intent..."

Musician (4/96, p.83) - "...this singer leaps out of nowhere to nail a wide interval or [to] unerringly navigate a difficult melody....NEW MOON DAUGHTER will continue to win her the big audience she deserves..."

Village Voice (2/25/97) - Ranked #15 in the Village Voice's 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
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