Pianist and singer Nina Simone defied categorization by blending classical, jazz and popular music into an unconventional and highly personal idiom: over four decades, she galvanized audiences with albums and performances replete with deep passion and keen attention to emotion. Fiercely honest, Simone was admired for her eccentricity and individualism. She was known for her spirited personality on and off the stage, which included flirting with audience members and voicing her opinions about social topics of the time. Like the 1963 LP "Nina Simone At Carnegie Hall" (Pure Pleasure SCP 455), this was recorded in front of a devoted and enthusiastic live audience at Carnegie Hall on May 12, 1963. It isn't just unworthy leftovers, but a strong set in its own right, concentrating on material that could be seen as traditional or folk in orientation. It's not exactly strictly folk music, in repertoire or arrangement (which includes piano, guitar, bass, and drums, though not every tune has all of the instruments); "Twelfth Of Never" certainly isn't folk music. However, there was also an uptempo piano blues, Leadbelly's "Silver City Bound"; covers of the Israeli "Erets Zavat Chalav" and "Vanetihu" which served as further proof that Simone's eclecticism knew no bounds; and the stark, moody, spiritually shaded ballads at which she excelled ("When I Was a Young Girl", "Hush Little Baby"). "Lass Of The Low Country" is as exquisitely sad-yet-beautiful as it gets.
Nina Simone: Folksy Nina
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