Cassandra Wilson - Traveling Miles (2lps)

Album cover art for upc 602537813735
Catalog: B002064001

Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson's tribute to Miles Davis, Traveling Miles, is nothing if not ambitious--easily on par with the other slew of Davis tribs. Covering the great trumpeter's long career is alone quite a challenge, but Wilson sets her goals even higher by writing new lyrics and arrangements that make these tunes her own. The result is a pleasure that ends up capturing Wilson's spirit as well as Davis's. Never one to hew to traditional jazz's formats, Wilson adds acoustic and slide guitars, percussion, harmonica, and other instruments that give the album an enormously varied feel. "Right Here, Right Now," with its strummed and slide guitars, wouldn't sound out of place on a Joni Mitchell album, and her intriguing cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" (covered by Davis in 1985 on You're Under Arrest), is delicately mournful. Not that Wilson has left jazz behind: the swinging version of "Seven Steps to Heaven," with guest solos by violinist Regina Carter and vibraphonist Stefon Harris, whose 1998 debut was one of the year's promising releases, is a highlight. And Wilson's version of the Davis classic "Blue in Green" (here titled "Sky and Sea"), is just plainly beautiful. Her deep and soulful voice remains as compelling as ever through the many moods and colors, deepening the uniqueness of her take on the Miles songbook. Exactly the way Miles would have wanted it. --Ezra Gale

Price: $28.98