12 Songs, 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Cassandra Wilson’s decision to cover the works of Billie Holiday in celebration of Holiday’s centennial was simply the right thing to do. Thankfully, Wilson doesn’t just run through the catalog and collect $200 here. She teams up with producer Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Arcade Fire) and recasts the songs as modern marvels. “Billie’s Blues” is every bit Cassandra’s, and “Strange Fruit” is as eerie and horrific as ever, enhanced by a noirscape of rumbling drums, ominous piano, and stalking bass. “The Way You Look Tonight,” with clarinet and strings, holds its romance. Occasional modernity peeks out, but the torch ballads are timeless and the singing is sublime. Of course.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Cassandra Wilson’s decision to cover the works of Billie Holiday in celebration of Holiday’s centennial was simply the right thing to do. Thankfully, Wilson doesn’t just run through the catalog and collect $200 here. She teams up with producer Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Arcade Fire) and recasts the songs as modern marvels. “Billie’s Blues” is every bit Cassandra’s, and “Strange Fruit” is as eerie and horrific as ever, enhanced by a noirscape of rumbling drums, ominous piano, and stalking bass. “The Way You Look Tonight,” with clarinet and strings, holds its romance. Occasional modernity peeks out, but the torch ballads are timeless and the singing is sublime. Of course.

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