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JazzTimes 10: Essential Albums of the 2000s

A look back at a diverse decade, featuring Joshua Redman, Cassandra Wilson, Maria Schneider, and more

Allégresse by Maria Schneider
Allégresse by Maria Schneider

Cassandra Wilson: Belly of the Sun (Blue Note, 2002)

The smoky-voiced singer Cassandra Wilson, who came up in the Brooklyn-based M-BASE movement of the 1980s, has an affinity for folk- and country-inflected rock—and there’s something about her mellow, narcotized articulation that makes the connection particularly potent. On her excellent album Belly of the Sun, she takes on such tunes as Robbie Robertson’s “The Weight,” James Taylor’s “Only a Dream in Rio,” Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman,” and Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm.” The instrumentation features light but driving percussion reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, a singer to whom Wilson owes as much debt as Abbey Lincoln.

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Originally Published

Matthew Kassel

Matthew Kassel is a freelance writer whose work has been published by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and The Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications.