Results for Nina Simone

interviews

Bernard“Pretty”Purdie

Bernard Purdie

In the 1960s and '70s, Bernard“Pretty”Purdie was one of the most prolific session drummers out there, laying down the beat for Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Al Kooper, Nina Simone, Hall & Oates, Miles Davis and hundreds more. His distinctive style, known as the“Purdie Shuffle,”has influenced generations of drummers, but has been frequently sampled in hip hop since the 1980s. Sound Opinions producer Ayana Contreras spoke with Purdie about his career and contributions to popular music.

Go to episode 652

Emeli Sande

Emeli Sande went from virtual unknown to performing at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremonies, and in between she penned songs for Leona Lewisand even Susan Boyle. She's also made it her personal mission to put the poetry back in pop music. It's a mission that has caught on in the U.K. Emeli received a Brit Critics Choice Award (previously won by Adele and Florence + the Machine) and was asked to open for Coldplay on a recent American tour. So Jim and Greg were eager to have this rising star perform in the studio. They describe her music as a mix of Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill.

Go to episode 384
reviews
Back to BlackBack to Black available on iTunes

Amy Winehouse Back to Black

This first album up for review this week is of Back to Black, the second album by British import Amy Winehouse. The singer/songwriter was one of the most buzzed about acts at this year's SXSW Festival, and her off-stage antics are getting her a flurry of attention in the British press. Jim and Greg, however, aren't sure the phenomenon will translate overseas. Winehouse prides herself on being influenced by jazz and the R&B and soul singers of the 1960s. But, both critics find her music to be a retro parody more than an authentic homage. In fact, Jim outright hates this album and gives his Trash It rating right up front. Greg didn‘t dislike the album as much as he thought he would, but was still unimpressed by Winehouse’s pale imitation of artists like Donnie Hathaway and Nina Simone. He also gives Back to Black a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 71
Let It DieThe Reminder available on iTunes

Feist The Reminder

Feist has the first album up for review this week. Leslie Feist has performed with Broken Social Scene and Peaches, and broke out as a solo artist with her 2004 album Let It Die. The Reminder marks the Canadian's move to Paris, and is another collection of romantic, intimate cabaret songs. Jim compares Feist's music to that of Nina Simone and Sade, but notes that it is a pale comparison. He“isn't buying”her easy-listening act, and wishes she‘d do something half as dynamic as what she does with Peaches and BSS. Jim doesn’t hesitate to give this former Sound Opinions guest a full-out Trash It. Greg is a little more kind, but wishes that the bedroom singer had actually emerged from her bedroom to make this record. He thinks her voice sounds terrific as always, but wasn't won over by most of the songwriting. He gives The Reminder a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 75
The Breakthrough (Bonus Tracks)Mary available on iTunes

Mary J. Blige Mary

Jim and Greg next review the latest release from reigning R&B queen Mary J. Blige. Blige is an artist who has been put through the ringer, but things were a lot more stable during the making of The Breakthrough. This didn‘t affect Blige’s sound, however, which is as gritty as ever. While Jim and Greg prefer the singer live, they agree that this is Blige's best album since 1992's What's the 411. (Sound Opinions H.Q. also recommends her 1999 release Mary). Our hosts are especially impressed with how Blige manages not to be overshined by the presence of so many star producers like Dr. Dre, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Will.i.am, nor star guests like Jay-Z, Raphael Saadiq and Nina Simone (from the beyond). Fellow divas Beyoncé Knowles and Alicia Keys can't always say that.

JimGreg
Go to episode 6
Our Version of EventsOur Version of Events available on iTunes

Emeli Sande Our Version of Events

Not long ago, Scottish R&B singer Emeli Sande was studying neuroscience at Glasgow University. Writing and performing music was a side gig. That changed in 2009 when she hooked up with British hip-hop producer Naughty Boy and the two put out the successful single“Diamond Rings”with Chipmunk. It's been a swift rise for Sande ever since. After working as a songwriter for artists like Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle and Tinie Tempah, she's put out her first solo record, Our Version of Events, on a major label. So is Sande the next Adele as some in the British press have prophesied? Jim says not quite. While the quality of Sande's voice is undeniable, he's disturbed by the submissiveness in her lyrics (there's something uncomfortable, he says, about a 25-year-old woman referring to a lover as "daddy.") Sande's cited both Nina Simone and Massive Attack as influences, but when it comes to merging those sounds, Jim says Sande's got a ways to go. What social consciousness there is on this record is generic and uncompelling. Greg agrees. In trying to show Sande's breadth as a songwriter, he suspects her producers spread her too thin. Still, the voice is there, and Greg predicts Sande will go on to make better records than this one. Our Version of Events gets a double Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 346
dijs

Jim

“Sour Times”Portishead

It's Jim's turn to select a song to take with him to the desert island this week. His DIJ pick was inspired by the two albums reviewed in the show. Amy Winehouse considers herself a modern day Nina Simone, and Timbaland uses a Nina Simone sample in his song "Oh Timbaland." Jim is in favor of referencing the past, but wanted to go back to a band that was able to bring a hip hop attitude to classic '60s soul and jazz much more successfully than Winehouse ever could. That band is Portishead. Portishead came out of England during the 1990s as part of the "trip-hop" movement. While their tenure was short (though word is they are making music again), Jim is still impressed by the group's ability to merge American hip hop with British psychedelia with early soul and R&B. The album he urges listeners to go back to is 1994's Dummy, and the track he wants to add to the Desert Island Jukebox is "Sour Times."

Go to episode 71
lists

Protest Songs

August 28, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech "I Have a Dream." And when Jim and Greg look back at that era, the music stands out as much as the marches and words. During this segment they talk about the role music played in the struggle for civil rights and how gospel and folk influences found their way into the pop charts. Jim and Greg also speak with legendary disc jockey Herb Kent about working at WVON (Voice of the Negro) during this time. Here are the protest songs Jim and Greg highlight:

  1. "Driva Man" by Max Roach & Oscar Brown Jr. featuring Abbey Lincoln, 1960
  2. "How I Got Over" performed by Mahalia Jackson at the March on Washington, 1963
  3. "In the Mississippi River" by the Freedom Singers, 1965
  4. "Mississippi Goddamn" performed by Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall, 1964
  5. "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke, 1964
  6. "Keep On Pushing" by The Impressions, 1964
  7. "Freedom Highway" by The Staple Singers, 1965
  8. "Lift Every Voice and Sing" performed by Kim Weston at Wattstax, 1972
Go to episode 404

Music of the Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Music

When you think about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, perhaps the powerful words of Martin Luther King Jr. or the horrific images of Emmett Till come to mind. But, for Jim and Greg, the music equally lingers. Songs by Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, Sam Cooke and more captured the mood and inspired action. Here are some that continue to resonate:

  1. "Driva Man" by Max Roach & Oscar Brown Jr. featuring Abbey Lincoln, 1960
  2. "How I Got Over" performed by Mahalia Jackson at the March on Washington, 1963
  3. "In the Mississippi River" by the Freedom Singers, 1965
  4. "Mississippi Goddamn" performed by Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall, 1964
  5. "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke, 1964
  6. "Keep On Pushing" by The Impressions, 1964
  7. "Freedom Highway" by The Staple Singers, 1965
  8. "Lift Every Voice and Sing" performed by Kim Weston at Wattstax, 1972
Go to episode 534

Scary Songs

It's everyone's favorite time of year: Halloween! This is one of our most requested shows, so Jim and Greg are back with another installment of Scary Songs for the season. Here are their 2011 picks:

Go to episode 309

Scary Songs

Jim and Greg are back with a batch of Scary Songs for Halloween. Fire up the jack-o'-lantern, fill the candy bowl, and listen to these songs:

Go to episode 674