Cassandra Wilson

The voice is more visual than audible; shaded, iridescent, tangible, substantial. It seems to flow effortlessly. Read any of the dozen or so biographies on Cassandra Wilson and you’ll discover some basics: born and reared in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s and 70s by musician and educator parents.

Classically trained on piano from age 6 until the age of 13, she also received further musical instruction as a clarinetist for the concert and marching bands of secondary school. During the 70s, she could be found performing Joni Mitchell songs behind an acoustic guitar, or singing with a blues band in Little Rock, Arkansas, in front of a large funk band in Jackson, or in the company of long-time friends in an all-girls ensemble. In the eighties, Cassandra moved to New Orleans where she performed with local luminaries Earl Turbinton and Ellis Marsalis. After a year, she relocated to East Orange, New Jersey where she made a decision to take her chances on the New York jazz scene. After a stint as the main vocalist with Steve Coleman’s M-Base Collective, Cassandra began recording on her own.

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