Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Cassandra Wilson: The New Standard

Cassandra Wilson (photo: Jimmy Katz)
Cassandra Wilson (photo: Jimmy Katz)
Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson

When Cassandra Wilson played New York City’s Blue Note in February, a lot was riding on her week of shows. She was introducing a new album, Belly of the Sun (Blue Note), her first in three years, and a new band, her first in nine years without music director Lonnie Plaxico. And she was pushing her unorthodox approach even further, a style that had won an enthusiastic audience but had divided jazz critics between those who hailed her as a leading innovator and those who dismissed her as a crossover compromiser.

Wilson looked fabulous as she took the stage opening night. She wore a rumpled blue shirt over a black-velvet blouse and black high-heel boots; her almond-frosted dreadlocks were bundled in the back and spilled down her neck. She peered at the audience from under her heavy-lidded eyes and cracked one of her signature half-smiles as if she had just heard a juicy bit of gossip about each and every one of us.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published

Geoffrey Himes

Geoffrey Himes has written about jazz and other genres of music on a regular basis for the Washington Post since 1977 and has also written for JazzTimes, Paste, Rolling Stone, New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, National Public Radio, and others. His book on Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A., was published by Continuum Books in 2005 and he’s currently working on a major book for the Country Music Hall of Fame. He has been honored for Music Feature Writing by the Deems Taylor/ASCAP Awards (2003, 2005, 2014 and 2015), the New Orleans Press Awards, the Abell Foundation Awards and the Music Journalism Awards.