Title - 'Coming Forth By Day'
Artist - Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson has, for years been one of the true jazz divas with a fertile imagination and a fine sense of swing. Her smokey seductive voice lends itself well to reinterpretting even the most hackneyed piece and thus giving it new life. When she sings of love both lost and found she does so with a worldliness and maturity so absent from the many pop singers making a living today.
Here, in this recording, Wilson has drawn inspiration from Billie Holiday for her entire life and actually chose the title as a way to honor the iconic singer: "Coming Forth By Day" is an English translation of the title of the ancient Egyptian "Book of the Dead." The book, formally known as the "The Egyptian Book Of The Dead," is in actuality a Kemetic collection of scriptures more accurately titled, The Book Of Coming Forth By Day, prescriptions intended to assist both the living and deceased in their journey through life and the afterlife.
In truth, and maybe as expected, this new recording is one of the better performances by this super talent. The arrangements of well known tunes draw you into the performance. The lyrics are the same, but the arrangements are such that you have to focus to recognize that the tune is one of Lady Day's. Unlike so many recordings which attempt to replicate Billie Holiday's performance with the same arrangements and phrasing, but just a different voice, Ms. Wilson takes on the songs with a new fresh approach. She emotes the songs the way Billie Holiday would have by performing it in her own unique way.
Coming Forth By Day is not the typical swing we've come to expect from Holiday or those she influenced (too numerous to even count), but rather, a totally different and more sedate interpretation. The production team along with Wilson's band (inclusive of the great T Bone Burnett) are spectacular. This new album, whether it be on CD or 2LP vinyl) is well worth buying, trust me.