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Cassandra Wilson: Country Strong

The beloved vocalist steps out of her comfort zone

Cassandra Wilson (photo: Marco Glaviano)
Cassandra Wilson (photo: Marco Glaviano)

On Memorial Day, as afternoon turned to evening and the barbecues wound down in the brownstone backyards next to Complete Music Studios in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights district, Cassandra Wilson convened her band for a five-hour rehearsal. In two days they would launch a weeklong run beginning in Bergen, Norway, continuing in Lviv, Ukraine, and concluding in Moscow.

Ensconced in Room 4 of the sprawling converted warehouse, the 56-year-old singer and her musicians worked methodically through the set list, postulating frameworks for such older Wilson standbys as “Fragile” and “Time After Time,” newer repertoire like “Red Guitar” and “Another Country” (both from Wilson’s June release, Another Country [Ojah/eOne]), and a stark, intense arrangement of “The Man I Love” by harmonica player Gregoire Maret,

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