Review of a Cassandra Wilson Concert

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If it is blues and jazz style of music that is missing in life then check out Cassandra Wilson. The Warfield was the site of this performance which began at about eight p.m. on February 29th. The show began late and ran for about two hours. The was no opening performance just Wilson's set. At different intervals some tuning was necessary due to the instruments banging around in the tour bus that was parked outside. The stage was set up with basic blues and jazz instruments in addition to some more unusual instruments. There was a basic drum set including: kick drum, snare, floor tom, ride and crash symbols, and a high hat. The drums were a rented Yamaha set, according to the sound technician that was located on the loge level. On another platform there were more percussion instruments set up. A timbale, two conga drums, bongo drums, a Tumba, chimes, and a floor kick drum were present. Located on stage left was the upright bass and the Yamaha drum set. Center and up stage was the percussion set with a microphone set up for Wilson down and center stage as well as a Martin acoustic guitar that she plays. On stage right a person would find a acoustic banjo, harmonica stand, a 12- string Gibson guitar, and a Takamene acoustic guitar. There were a total of six musicians including Wilson. Amongst the musicians were Brandon Ross on the banjo and 12- string guitar, Reggie Avil on the upright bass, Jeff Hanes on percussion, Wilson on her Martin guitar, and two more musicians. Many of the songs were in a 12-bar blues form with improvisations on the solos. Listening to one of Wilson's CD's and then being at the show allowed for noticing the improvised parts. The percussionist and harmonica player were very talented and featured in many solos throughout the two hour long show. Wilson played many of her own songs in addition to covers of other artist's songs. "Sail Along" was the first song played followed by "Nobody Knows" and "Last train" which was a Monkey's tune. "Nobody Knows" used a major-keyed harmonica giving the music a deeper and somber tone. The lead instrument in this song was a banjo instead of a guitar which normally would be used. Other performers' music that was covered were Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. "Stay Lady" was the Bob Dylan song with a more blues style twist followed by "Crazy" by Willie Nelson.

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