Nina Simone turning up the pressure...
Recorded on stage at Carnegie Hall in 1964, this "In Concert" has been re-released in Hi-Res 24 Bit quality. In 2020 it resounds just as powerfully as it did back then.
For her arrival to Philips, the label that would represent her between 1964 and 1967, Nina Simone started with a live recording from Carnegie Hall and simply named In Concert. One year beforehand, she had already recorded a performance on the very same legendary stage.
However in the time that had elapsed, her status had changed and the singer had become a figurehead for the Civil Rights movement. Indeed, on the tracklist are Old Jim Crow, Pirate Jenny, Go Limp and especially Mississippi Goddam, a hugely important song which closes this album and refers to the murder of Medgar Evers (an activist killed by a Ku Klux Klan member on June 12th 1963) as well as the attack on the 16th Street Baptist Church (also carried out by KKK members and which claimed the lives of four young girls on September 15th 1963).
Supported by an impeccable trio (Rudy Stevenson on the guitar, Lisle Atkinson on the double bass and Bobby Hamilton on drums), who create a refined and almost understated backing score, Nina Simone is out to shock the audience’s ears by being herself to the utmost: chanting, being outraged, imploring, confronting, reflecting, engaging, and ultimately trying to understand the madness of humankind. She allows her unique self to shine through on this album more than any others from the same era. This powerful vocal force cuts through to the soul every time and stands out differently to Billie, Ella and Sarah. With In Concert, suffering and freedom resound together in unison with a great power, something rarely seen elsewhere.
Sadly, no video exists of the legendary show. However, there is footage from September 14th 1968 from this show in England, just as captivating: