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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1966 | Philips

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When Wild Is The Wind was released in 1966, Nina Simone’s name was already closely associated with engagement and struggle. It is therefore only logical that this album, which regroups several sessions recorded for Philips in 1964 and 1965, is marked with dissent and revolt. In her own specific style. Because the 33-year-old singer knew how to do everything, she blended various styles, from bombastic to more intimate, from jazz ballads to more up-tempo titles. Moreover she always approached her art form with a true sense of dramaturgy, driving it through her singular voice or her streamlined piano. She reached a climax with her song Four Women that pieced together the portraits of four Afro-American women. Four stereotypes to expose endemic racism and injustice. Wild Is The Wind is also proof that Nina Simone was above all genres. Not fully jazz, not really blues, not entirely folk, or soul, she created her own language that many have copied but never equalled… © MZ/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Philips

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Perhaps a bit more conscious of contemporary soul trends than her previous Philips albums, this is still very characteristic of her mid-'60s work in its eclectic mix of jazz, pop, soul, and some blues and gospel. Hal Mooney directs some large band arrangements for the material on this LP without submerging Simone's essential strengths. The more serious and introspective material is more memorable than the good-natured pop selections here. The highlights are her energetic vocal rendition of the Oscar Brown/Nat Adderley composition "Work Song" and her spiritual composition "Come Ye," on which Simone's inspirational vocals are backed by nothing other than minimal percussion. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Philips

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Vocal Jazz - Released August 27, 2013 | Bethlehem Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Philips

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If this is blues, it's blues in the Billie Holiday sense, not the Muddy Waters one. This is one of Nina Simone's more subdued mid-'60s LPs, putting the emphasis on her piano rather than band arrangements. It's rather slanted toward torch-blues ballads like "Strange Fruit," "Trouble in Mind," Billie Holiday's own composition "Tell Me More and More and Then Some," and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out." Simone's then-husband, Andy Stroud, wrote "Be My Husband," an effective adaptation of a traditional blues chant. By far the most impressive track is her frantic ten-minute rendition of the traditional "Sinnerman," an explosive tour de force that dwarfs everything else on the album. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 17, 2006 | RCA - Legacy

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Nina Simone Sings the Blues, issued in 1967, was her RCA label debut, and was a brave departure from the material she had been recording for Phillips. Indeed, her final album for that label, High Priestess of Soul, featured the singer, pianist, and songwriter fronting a virtual orchestra. Here, Simone is backed by a pair of guitarists (Eric Gale and Rudy Stevenson), bassist (Bob Bushnell), drummer (Bernard "Pretty" Purdie), organist (Ernie Hayes), and harmonica player who doubled on saxophone (Buddy Lucas). Simone handled the piano chores. The song selection is key here. Because for all intents and purposes this is perhaps the rawest record Simone ever cut. It opens with the sultry, nocturnal, slow-burning original "Do I Move You," which doesn't beg the question but demands an answer: "Do I move you?/Are you willin'?/Do I groove you?/Is it thrillin'?/Do I soothe you?/Tell the truth now?/Do I move you?/Are you loose now?/The answer better be yeah...It pleases me...." As the guitarists slip and slide around her husky vocal, a harmonica wails in the space between, and Simone's piano is the authority, hard and purposely slow. The other tune in that vein, "In the Dark," is equally tense and unnerving; the band sounds as if it's literally sitting around as she plays and sings. There are a number of Simone signature tunes on this set, including "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl," "Backlash Blues," and her singular, hallmark, definitive reading of "My Man's Gone Now" from Porgy and Bess. Other notable tracks are the raucous, sexual roadhouse blues of "Buck," written by Simone's then husband Andy Stroud, and the woolly gospel blues of "Real Real," with the Hammond B-3 soaring around her vocal. The cover of Buddy Johnson's "Since I Fell for You" literally drips with ache and want. Simone also reprised her earlier performance of "House of the Rising Sun" (released on a 1962 Colpix live platter called At the Village Gate). It has more authority in this setting as a barrelhouse blues; it's fast, loud, proud, and wailing with harmonica and B-3 leading the charge. The original set closes with the slow yet sassy "Blues for Mama," ending with the same sexy strut the album began with, giving it the feel of a Möbius strip. Nina Simone Sings the Blues is a hallmark recording that endures; it deserves to be called a classic. ~ Thom Jurek
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1965 | Philips

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Philips

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One of her most pop-oriented albums, but also one of her best and most consistent. Most of the songs feature dramatic, swinging large-band orchestration, with the accent on the brass and strings. Simone didn't write any of the material, turning to popular European songsmiths Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, and Anthony Newley, as well as her husband, Andy Stroud, and her guitarist, Rudy Stevenson, for bluesier fare. There are really fine tunes and interpretations, on which Simone gives an edge to the potentially fey pop songs, taking a sudden (but not uncharacteristic) break for a straight jazz instrumental with "Blues on Purpose." The title track, a jazzy string ballad version of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins classic, gave the Beatles the inspiration for the phrasing on the bridge of "Michelle." ~ Richie Unterberger
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1965 | Philips

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1964 | Philips

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Philips

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There's a lot more Broadway and a lot more ballads than blues on this, which ranks as one of Simone's weaker mid-'60s albums. Almost half the record features Broadway tunes on the order of Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hammerstein; most of the rest was composed by Bennie Benjamin, author of her first-rate "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," which the Animals covered for a hit shortly afterwards (and which leads off this record). The other Benjamin tunes are modified uptown soul with string arrangements and backup vocals in the vein of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," but aren't in the same league, although "How Can I?" is an engaging cha-cha. Besides "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," the album is most notable for the great "SeeLine Woman," a percolating call-and-response number that ranks as one of her best tracks. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Vocal Jazz - Released September 4, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1966 | Philips

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Let It All Out is one of Nina Simone's more adult pop-oriented mid-'60s albums, with renditions of tunes by Duke Ellington ("Mood Indigo"), Billie Holiday ("Don't Explain"), Irving Berlin ("This Year's Kisses"), and Rodgers & Hart ("Little Girl Blue"). As ever, Simone ranges wide in her selection: Bob Dylan's "The Ballad of Hollis Brown," a swaggering adaptation of "Chauffeur Blues" (credited to her husband of the time, Andy Stroud), the gospel hymn "Nearer Blessed Lord," and Van McCoy's "For Myself." "Images" is an a cappella adaptation of a poem about the beauty of blackness by Waring Cuney. All of Simone's Philips albums are solid, and this is no exception, although it isn't the best of them. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Soul - Released May 19, 2003 | RCA Camden

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Verve

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Jazz - Released April 24, 2012 | RCA - Legacy

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | Verve

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Vocal Jazz - Released July 28, 1998 | RCA Records Label

Nina Simone recorded for RCA Records between 1967 and 1972. While she was in fine form during those years, she didn't make her best records there, and sounded particularly ill at ease whenever she did pop-rock covers, which was more often than she should. However, these songs are selling points for a certain audience, namely the audience RCA is targeting with their generous 40-track collection, The Very Best of Nina Simone. True, her recordings during these five years were a little inconsistent, as she covered the classics, performed new songs, and tackled contemporary material, so perhaps it's fitting that this compilation is also a little schizophrenic. Nevertheless, that doesn't make the compilation much more than an interesting summation of a conflicted, occasionally rewarding, era of Simone's career that will be useful for already-dedicated fans that want to explore a little deeper than just her classic recordings. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Jazz - Released April 1, 2013 | Wagram Music

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 2, 2017 | BDMUSIC

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