Friday, December 13, 2013

little girl blue

Nina Simone made her dramatic debut with this unique blend of blues, gospel, jazz, and classical.  Eunice Kathleen Waymon displayed musical talent at the age of three and was given lessons in classical music.  She also played piano in her mother's church and graduated at the top of her class in high school.  She  she studied at the Juilliard School of Music and applied to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; but was denied admission because (she was told later) she was black.  She started teaching music and applied for a job as a pianist at the Midtown Bar & Grill on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the owner insisted she sing.  It was at this point that she assumed the pseudonym of Nina Simone from a nickname (niña, meaning 'little girl' in Spanish) a boyfriend had given to her, and from French actress Simone Signoret, whom she had seen in the movie 'Casque d'or'.

Her performances drew her acclaim and a demo she made from a performance in New Hope, Pennsylvania, led to a record deal with Bethlehem Records, the jazz subsidiary of King Records in Ohio.   Label owner Syd Nathan tried to select songs for her to record; but she insisted on doing the songs she had been playing in her live repertoire.  'Little Girl Blue' features Nina Simone on vocals and piano with the rhythm section of Jimmy Bond on bass and Tootie Heath on drums.  Her version of 'I Loves You, Porgy' became a top twenty hit; but Simone never saw any of the royalties because she had signed them all away when she accepted a $3000 advance.  'My Baby Just Cares for Me' became her biggest hit in 1987 when it was re-released after being featured in a UK commercial for the Chanel no.5 perfume.  Simone would leave Bethlehem Records to move on to  Colpix Records after 'Little Girl Blue'; but Nathan would release another album ('Nina Simone and Her Friends'with four songs that didn't make the cut for her debut.  

Simone would express later:     "I was born a child prodigy. [Yeah] I was born a genius. Which means that, uhm, at six moths old, my mom says that I knew what notes were. And of course eh, on paper. And it scared her. So three years old I remember a piano playing to the house. That's the way I have to express it, cos I was poor, and I was a child, so I didn't know who bought the piano. And I remember playing a song, 'God be with you, till we meet again.' In the key of F, and of course I didn't know what a key was. So I do that for you too, scramble [laughing]. So I eh, I didn't get interested in music, I was a gift from God. And I know that...I know, what God is, but I do not believe in any denomination. I think it's necessary, and I know that ritual is necessary. And for whatever people need. Of course they should do it, but I do not believe in any denomination, whatever I am. If I need the solitude, and I often do, and the meditation, and the quiteness, and the communication with God, I go to any church, if I can find that atmosphere. But I will not get eh, hung by it, nor will I get involved in it to the point where it dominates my thinking, and, this one is better than that one. No, I will not do that. Music is my God...The structure, the cleanlyness, the tone, the – nuances, the implications, the silences, the dynamics, the pianissimos, the fortissimos, all have to do with sound and music, and it's, it's as close to God as I know. Eh, the cleanlyness of, of classical music – not all of it, some of it is too cold – but Bach was a master. And, let me say in this path also many many jazz eh, masters knew what they were doing. Coltrane, Dizzie Gillespie who is still with us, he's, does a lot of comedy, but he's a great master. Miles Davis is a master. Duke Ellington was unquestionably one. And eh, Art Blakey is one – I wished, God I could play with him. Eh, and eh, eh, and I said Coltrane? And we have of course Art Tatum at sometime. And one of the greatest pianists in the world is Oscar Peterson. I can only think of those four, five masters. I only like masters ... I demand perfection in what I do and I practice very hard before I give a concert--sometimes three to six hours a day. And I am particular about the seating of the audience--also about how much money they pay--but most of all where they are seated. If I am going to sing something intimate, who am I going to sing it to?...When I was studying... there weren't any black concert pianists. My choices were intuitive, and I had the technique to do it. People have heard my music and heard the classic in it, so I have become known as a black classical pianist."

I Loves You, Porgy

My Baby Just Cares for Me

'Little Girl Blue'

full album:

Mood Indigo (Duke Ellington, Barney Bigard, Irving Mills)
Don't Smoke in Bed  (Willard Robison)
He Needs Me (Arthur Hamilton)
Little Girl Blue  (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
Love Me or Leave Me (Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn)
My Baby Just Cares for Me  (Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn)
You'll Never Walk Alone (Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II)
Plain Gold Ring  (George Stone)
Good Bait   (Tadd Dameron)
I Loves You, Porgy (DuBose Heyward, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin)
Central Park Blues  (Nina Simone)

No comments:

Post a Comment