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Wednesday, March 31, 1999

Review - Traveling Miles

Artist: Cassandra Wilson

Posted on Wed, Mar 31, 1999 at 4:00 AM

Traveling Miles
Label: Blue Note
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Traveling Miles

Cassandra Wilson, the unrivaled jazz-folk diva du jour, has for the last decade or so used her gorgeous voice the way that Miles Davis wielded his trumpet. Wilson's voice, earthy but lifted by an otherworldly passion, always finds the most natural place in its own sonic space. She does right by Davis on this tribute album, a collection of tunes written by or associated with the legendary trumpeter, plus several originals.

Jazzers will take to remakes of "Seven Steps to Heaven" (with Wilson's lyrics) and "Someday My Prince Will Come," both bolstered by dazzling solos from violinist Regina Carter. Fusion fans should dig "Never Broken (E.S.P)" and two versions of "Run the VooDoo Down," driven by Dave Holland's grinding bass, Olu Dara's eerie muted trumpet and Wilson's lyrics -- all Mississippi mud and hoodoo spirit. The tune's reprise benefits from a chanting duet with Angelique Kidjo. Pat Metheny enlivens a lovely "Sky and Sea (Blue in Green),"and Davis' '80s output is represented by a pensive "Time After Time" and a Delta-spooky "Resurrection Blues (Tutu)."

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