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Nina Simone: To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story

Nina Simone, a classically trained pianist and a very socially conscious singer and songwriter who fit into her own unique musical category, was of greatest interest to the jazz world during the period (1957-73) that is emphasized on the three-CD/one-DVD set To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story (RCA/Legacy). Drawn from her Bethlehem, Colpix, Philips and especially her RCA catalogs (the second disc is entirely from 1968-69), this set hits most of the obvious high points and has plenty of rarities, including eight previously unreleased performances. The DVD consists of the 23-minute Nina: A Historical Perspective, a valuable and somewhat obscure 1970 television documentary that gives one a strong sense of the constant pressure she was under.

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