*watercolor portrait © Mario Zucca • www.mariozucca.com
This year, the legendary “High Priestess of Soul”, NINA SIMONE, would be 80 years old.
A woman who changed the social and political fabric of America with her fearless songs, her yearning voice, and her raw, worn soul. Perhaps what has always moved me about Nina’s body of work is that her recordings, even her fame in itself, were all auxiliary – just a means to support her continuing education and aspirations of becoming a classical pianist. Her songs had their own meanings and subjects of course, but by reflecting on her life’s work as a whole, you can plot the points between these songs like a constellation. They were rungs on the ladder of her ever-climbing journey. You can hear in each recording a completely pure reflection of how she was feeling – passionate, strong, devoted, frisky, suspicious, proud, or just downright tired.
THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, JULY 5TH 2013, Los Angeles gathers for a sure-to-be-epic evening of free music and revelry around this particularly authentic high priestess. Join us all at GRAND PERFORMANCES for “YOUNG, GIFTED, and NINA”, featuring LA’s deepest musical luminaries from the Jazz, Soul, Blues, Poetry and recording world as we come together for this majestic tribute. This event is produced with unmatched dedication by Jonathan Rudnick, and the visionary music direction of Dexter Story, the men behind last year’s also epic “PEACE GO WITH YOU, GIL” tribute to Gil Scott-Heron. Yours truly will be opening the evening with an invocation DJ set, and speaking throughout the show. Fellow KCRW DJ Tom Schnabel will serve as host. As gesture to christen this momentous occasion, I’ve agreed to make my remix of Nina Simone’s “Be My Husband” a free download for all to have. I hope you enjoy and spread the sounds, spread the word. And we’ll see you Friday night.
— Jeremy Sole
FROM THE ARCHIVES:
Nina Simone: Little Girl Blue, Tempestuous Diva, We Will Always Love You – a blog post in remembrance of Nina Simone by KCRW’s Tom Schnabel.