News > Review: CJO’s Little Girl Blue: Celebrating the Music of Nina Simone

Nina Simone (1933 – 2003) is one of the most influential musicians in modern music, nevermind the fact that she was an African American female piano player and singer. She recorded over 40 albums and toured internationally. She has inspired countless musicians, and it is a safe bet to say that she will inspire and influence generations to come.

(l to r) Lindsay Holler, Aisha Kenyetta, Leah Suarez; image by Audra Rhodes

Charleston Jazz Orchestra paid tribute to her tremendous talent in Little Girl Blue on Saturday, March 22 at Charleston Music Hall with a concert unlike anything I’ve seen. Three tremendous local singers, featured vocalist Leah Suarez, guest vocalists Aisha Kenyetta, and Lindsay Holler joined the Big Band on stage to recreate and reinterpret Nina Simone’s incredible legacy. The ladies sang with mastery and emotion; the energy and enthusiasm was palpable in the audience, the air, electric.

Charlton Singleton; image by Audra Rhodes

The CJO often performs songs that include vocalists, but this marked the first performance by them that I’ve seen that featured lyrics on (almost) every song. Suarez shined as the featured vocalist. It was truly one of the most moving performances she has given, perhaps because Suarez is so inspired by Simone. She was joined by Aisha Kenyetta and Lindsay Holler, and when the three sang together, it was pure magic.

The musicians of the CJO are a talented bunch. They not only perform the songs, but all are arranged in house, by the very same musicians on stage. Maestro Charlton Singleton contributed the one instrumental song, “My Baby Just Cares for Me.” Personal favorites: “Sinnerman,” “Four Women,” and “I Loves You, Porgy.” This was probably the third time I’ve seen Suarez sing what is one of the most iconic songs of Porgy & Bess, and each performance outdoes the last.

words: Stacy Huggins
images: Audra Rhodes

Your Charleston Jazz Orchestra; image by Audra Rhodes

Posted on March 28, 2014 by admin.

Categories: Performing Arts, Review

Tags: Aisha Kenyetta, Charleston Jazz, Charleston Jazz Orchestra, Charleston Music Hall, Charlton Singleton, Jazz Artists Of Charleston, Leah Suarez, Lindsay Holler, Little Girl Blue, Live Music, Nina Simone

Comments (0)

No comments yet