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.
Nina Simone was a singular artist, and she went where she pleased, leaving behind a recorded legacy that is passionate, political, defiant, and delicate by turns, no matter what strain of folk, blues, jazz, or gospel she was dipping into, and she did it all with dignity, grace, and intelligence…
Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637–1707) spent his career working as an organist in churches, but was also a prolific composer of secular instrumental music and wrote far more for harpsichord than most composers of his era. Buxtehude’s position in Lübeck and fame as an organist brought him into contact with many of the greatest musicians of his day, and his style demonstrates the variety of musical influences that he was exposed to, particularly from German and Italian repertoire, which he combined to create a unique personal style.
In the midst of the Civil Rights Movement where spirits may not have been high, Nina Simone walked onto the stage and used her raspy voice to send a message. That message is there's always tomorrow and the future is bright. It's a live album that features Simone singing some of her biggest songs as well as other songs that she was fond of at the time. It also features a lot of dialogue from Simone on issues facing black Americans at the time.
La Passion de Simone is an oratorio for solo soprano, choir, orchestra, and electronics by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Originally premiered in a stage version directed by Peter Sellars, this oratorio about the life and work of French philosopher Simone Weil, has been developed in a new version for live video by Jean-Baptiste Barriere. This new version premiered at the occasion of the 60th birthday celebration of Kaija Saariaho, offered to her as a surprise gift in Helsinki’s Musikkitalo earlier this month.