Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson is bringing her unique interpretation of the legendary Billie Holiday to Hong Kong next month in a once-in-a-lifetime concert. Wilson, once named “America’s Best Singer” by Time magazine, will perform March 21 and 22, ahead of the release of Coming Forth By Day, a musical homage to the iconic Holiday.
Wilson will bring to the stage her moody, soulful interpretations of standards associated with “Lady Day”. Each song was reimagined with the guidance of producer Nick Launay, best known for his stellar work with Nick Cave.
“A dream of mine is happening,” says Wilson. “I’ve been in love with Billie Holiday’s voice since the moment I heard it, and she has inspired me throughout my career.”
Coming Forth by Day is dedicated to the beauty, power, and genius of Billie Holiday. It is a vehicle for the re-emergence of her songbook in the 21st century. Inspired by the Kemetic texts that give guidance through the afterlife, Coming Forth by Day is a collection of musical spells, prescriptions for navigating the myths surrounding her life and times.
Wilson is the perfect vocalist to bring Holiday to the stage. She was once described by critic Gary Giddins as “a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack who has expanded the playing field” by incorporating blues, country, and folk music into her work.
She began playing piano at six, guitar by 12, and was working as a vocalist by the mid-1970s, singing a wide variety of material. After moving to New York City in the early 1980s, Wilson met saxophonist Steve Coleman and became one of the founding members of the M-Base Collective.
At the completion of her stint with M-Base, Wilson sought a more acoustic context for her vocal expression. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released a landmark album titled Blue Light ‘Til Dawn which would pave the way for a new generation of jazz singers seeking an approach and repertoire that challenged the supremacy of the American Standard songbook.
Wilson has continued interpreting in fresh and creative ways vintage blues, country and folk music up until the present day. Her awards include two Grammys, the Django D’Or, The Edison Music Award, and a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. She also performed one of the leading roles in Wynton Marsalis’s Blood on the Fields, the first jazz work to receive a Pulitzer Prize.
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