Summer Jazz – William Price King meets Nina Simone – Singles and the Finale


William and his musicToday the finale of the Nina Simone story and a celebration of her life and music, particularly the singles that she released.  I will now hand you over to William….

In her autobiography, Nina Simone writes that her function as an artist is “…to make people feel on a deep level. It’s difficult to describe because it’s not something you can analyse; to get near what it’s about you have to play it. And when you’ve caught it, when you’ve got the audience hooked, you always know because it’s like electricity hanging in the air.

After travelling the world for nearly over 20 years, Nina Simone settled in Carry-le-Rout in Southern France in 1993. She also released the album Single Woman that year with the title track reflecting her solitary existence after the failure of her two marriages. Here is A Single woman written by Rod McKuen

Although she remained single she was surrounded by her entourage and certainly her enduring friendship and collaboration with both percussionist Leopoldo Fleming and guitarist and musical director Al Shackman was life and career sustaining. Nina Simone had never been afraid to voice her opinions about key issues and she certainly understood the pain of being both misunderstood and at times misrepresented in the media.

However, her fans were and still are steadfast and this was down to her magical performance skill in bringing the emotional elements of life through into her lyrics and music that resonated with all of us. She had a hypnotic quality that is best summed up in this performance of I Put a Spell on You. Written in 1956 by Jay Hawkins it was a song with a great pedigree and the original recording was named as one of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Here is Nina with her version recorded and released as a single in 1965 as the title track from her album.

Nina had a keen ear and also business acumen and picked songs to record that had already proven themselves. This was the case with To Love Somebody written by Barry and Robin Gibb and released as their second single from Bee Gees 1st album in 1967. Having reached No 17 in the charts in the United States and No 41 in the UK, Nina released as a single in 1968 and the song out-performed the Bee Gees reaching No 5 in the UK charts.

There was an element of aloofness in Nina Simone’s performances which earned her the name ‘High Priestess of Soul’. But on stage she could move seamlessly between gospel, blues, soul, jazz, folk and also pop music always maintaining that classical element that so defined her music. Whatever the style of music there is no doubt that those who were privileged to see Nina Simone live would leave the concert feeling good… Although it was not released as a single until 1994, Nina recorded Feeling Good in 1965 for her album I Put A Spell On You.

The song had been written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint- The Smell of the Crowd which was performed in the UK and on Broadway. The song would be covered many times but few have managed to perform it in quite the same way as Nina Simone.

For those who were not able to see Nina Simone in person the development of CDs and now digital reproduction meant that her work lives on and a new generation of fans is now buying her Music. Over one million of her recordings were sold on CD alone in the last ten years of her life.

Nina Simone received many honours during her lifetime with fifteen Grammy nominations, two honorary degrees in music and humanities from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Malcolm X College. Ironically, shortly before her death she was also awarded an honorary degree by the Curtis Institute of Music school that rejected her application so many years before. In 2009 she was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame and in 2010 a statue was erected in her honour in her home town of Tryon, North Carolina.

There have been a number of documentaries about her life and music and this year a new film is being released The Amazing Nina Simone telling her story from those who knew her best including Al Shackman and Leopoldo Fleming.

Nina had suffered from illness for several years and died in her sleep in 2003 at her home in France. She left behind an incredible legacy of music that more often than not reflected the anguish, passion and the joy of life in the 20th century. An unforgettable artist, woman and her star will shine on for all time.

For her finale I have selected Angel of the Morning. Written by New York songwriter Chip Taylor from the 1971 album Here Comes The Sun.

I hope that you have enjoyed the life and work of Nina Simone and if you are unfamiliar with her work that you will go out and buy her music so that you can experience yourself the magic of her legacy.

Buy Nina Simone Music
http://www.amazon.com/Nina-Simone/e/B000APGYE6

Additional sources
http://www.ninasimone.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Simone
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Girl_Blue_%28album%29
http://denisesullivan.com/tag/al-schackman/

Thanks to all the Nina Simone fans who have uploaded videos of her performance to YouTube.

William Price King

williampricekingWilliam Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

 

Links to the stories on all Jazz Royalty.. Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald and Roberta Flack.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-jazz-and-music-series/

Coming soon – Contemporary Classical singers.

Summer Jazz – William Price King meets Nina Simone – Part Four -The 70s


William and his music

Just two more posts in this Summer Jazz season and then we will be starting a brand new series on the most popular contemporary classical singers.

This week part four of the Nina Simone story and after the Civil Rights Movement in the early 60s the 70s were to prove a challenging time personally but a very productive period in Nina’s career.

In her autobiography, Nina Simone writes that her function as an artist is “…to make people feel on a deep level. It’s difficult to describe because it’s not something you can analyze; to get near what it’s about you have to play it. And when you’ve caught it, when you’ve got the audience hooked, you always know because it’s like electricity hanging in the air.”

As Nina moved into the 1970s she was settled at RCA and producing some outstanding albums and singles. However by 1974 she was ready to move on from the label and the second half of the decade was spent travelling the world.

In Nina’s seven years with RCA she produced nine albums beginning with Nina Simone Sings The Blues and including To Love Somebody, Here Comes The Sun and Emergency Ward. Her third album ‘Nuff Said’ featured the medley combining two songs from the hit Broadway musical Hair, lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni with music my Galt Macdermot. Nina’s version was No 2 in the UK charts and No 1 in the Netherlands and helped Nina reach a new pop fan base.

Ain’t Got No – I Got Life,

George Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun, was the title track of Nina’s seventh album which also featured Angel Of The Morning and What Have They Done To My Song, Ma? Here is the title track.

She recorded her last album for RCA, It Is Finished, during 1974 one of the tracks was the evocative Let It Be Me written by Gilbert Becaud, Mann Curtis and Pierre Delanoe.

After Nina left RCA it would be four years before she recorded her next album in 1978. Nina was persuaded by Jazz musician Creed Taylor to release an album for his CTI label. She recorded it in Belgium with the strings and vocals added in New York. Although Nina herself claimed that she did not like the album, her fans did. The title track written by Randy Newman, Baltimore combined a reggae beat with some of the best musicians in the business including Nina’s long time collaborator and musical director, Al Shackman. Other tracks on the album remained true to Nina’s roots ranging from spiritual songs to Hall & Oates Rich Girl. Here is the title track Baltimore written by Randy Newman.

Nina Simone had been married briefly in 1958 to Don Ross a fairground barker but following her divorce had married a New York police detective in 1961. Andrew Stroud would take on the role of Nina’s manager in the coming years and he was also responsible for her finances. In 1970 Nina left America for Barbados and apparently assumed that as her manager he would contact her about upcoming performances. Unfortunately Andrew Stroud assumed that as Nina had left her wedding ring behind that she intended to divorce him.

When Nina returned to the US she found that a warrant had been issued for her arrest for unpaid taxes. Although it is highly likely that this was down to her lack of control of her own finances it was also thought to be strongly connected to her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in the early 60s. Nina immediately turned around and headed back to Barbados where she lived for some time.

Nina felt increasingly alienated under the Nixon regime and disenchanted with those organisations that she had associated with in the 60s. After leaving RCA she became literally a citizen of the world and stated that she could not live in America again. She spent the latter part of the 70s and early 1980s living in Barbados, Liberia, England, Belgium, France, Switzerland and The Netherlands before finally settling in France.

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Next week a look at Nina’s life abroad and some of her memorable live performances in Europe.

Buy Nina Simone Music
http://www.amazon.com/Nina-Simone/e/B000APGYE6

Additional sources
http://www.ninasimone.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Simone
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Girl_Blue_%28album%29
http://denisesullivan.com/tag/al-schackman/

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.

wpk

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

William Price King in concert each Wednesday.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-in-concert/

Links to the stories on all Jazz Royalty.. Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald and Roberta Flack.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

Summer Jazz- William Price King meets Nina Simone – Part Three – The Civil Rights Movement


William and his musicThis week in part three of the Nina Simone story William Price King looks at Nina’s enormous impact on the Civil Rights Movement in the turbulent sixties. Her music crossed many different styles and we begin with Nina Simone’s own words about her music and where she felt she fit into the industry of the day.

nina sayings

“Critics started to talk about what sort of music I was playing,” writes Nina in her 1991 autobiography I Put A Spell On You, “and tried to find a neat slot to file it away in. It was difficult for them because I was playing popular songs in a classical style with a classical piano technique influenced by cocktail jazz. On top of that I included spirituals and children’s song in my performances, and those sorts of songs were automatically identified with the folk movement. So, saying what sort of music I played gave the critics problems because there was something from everything in there, but it also meant I was appreciated across the board – by jazz, folk, pop and blues fans as well as admirers of classical music.”

Nina had moved to Phillips which was a division of Mercury Records and this would propel her firmly into the global music scene. In 1964 her first release with Phillips, Nina Simone In Concert was a platform for her belief in equality and confirmed her position as a pioneer and champion of freedom. One of the tracks, Mississippi Goddam was released and a single and banned in several states in the south which indicates the impact she had as a performer. The song was her response to the murder of Medgar Evans and the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four black children. The ban was allegedly because of the use of the word Goddam!

Her other protest songs that would become synonymous with the Civil Rights movement were Four Women and one of her most popular To Be Young, Gifted and Black. Here is a fascinating interview with Nina at the time talking about the inspiration behind the song and a live performance of the track.

Although Nina used her music to demonstrate her solidarity for Civil Rights  and her belief in freedom and justice for everyone, she initially had misgivings about performing songs that were linked to the  movement and this is how Nina described her feelings on the subject in her autobiography I Put A Spell On You.

reflect the times

“Nightclubs were dirty, making records was dirty, popular music was dirty and to mix all that with politics seemed senseless and demeaning. And until songs like ‘Mississippi Goddam’ just burst out of me, I had musical problems as well. How can you take the memory of a man like Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers and reduce all that he was to three and a half minutes and a simple tune? That was the musical side of it I shied away from; I didn’t like ‘protest music’ because a lot of it was so simple and unimaginative it stripped the dignity away from the people it was trying to celebrate. But the Alabama church bombing and the murder of Medgar Evers stopped that argument and with ‘Mississippi Goddam,’ I realized there was no turning back.”

Nina was part of an influential group of African American playwrights, poets and musicians who were living in Harlem and included Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. These and others influenced and inspired Nina’s own creativity. Including tracks such as Backlash Blues by Langston Hughes, on her first album with the RCA Victor label in 1967, Nina Simone Sings The Blues. The song’s lyrics originated from the last poem Langston Hughes submitted for publication prior to his death in May, 1967 and gave to Nina.

Nina would perform and speak at many civil rights meetings including at the Selma to Montgomery marches. She unlike Martin Luther King was not opposed to a more violent approach to achieving the goals of the movement, although she did stress in her autobiography that she regarded all races as equal. It was clear however that she deeply admired Martin Luther King and was deeply affected by his murder in 1968.

Her next album in 1968, Nuff Said contains live recordings from the Westbury Music Fair, April 7, 1968, three days after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr… She dedicated the whole performance to him and sang “Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead)”, a song written by her bass player, Gene Taylor, directly after the news of King’s death had reached them.

It was clear that there were many facets to Nina Simone the woman as well as the musician and one of the songs that probably illustrates this the most is “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

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Buy Nina Simone’s autobiography on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Nina-Simone/e/B001JP44UC

Buy Nina Simone Music
http://www.amazon.com/Nina-Simone/e/B000APGYE6

Additional sources
http://www.ninasimone.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Simone

Next time the late 60s and more performances from Nina’s seven years with RCA and her work on the musical Hair and collaboration with other musicians.

William Price King

wpk

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

 

Thank you for popping in today and please feel free to share and we welcome your comments as

A Man and his Music – William Price meets Nina Simone part two.


William and his music

Last week in the first part of the Nina Simone story, William left us at the point when Nina’s debut album Little Girl Blue in 1958, was gaining her a much wider audience and she had moved on from Bethlehem Records to sign a contract with Colpix which was a division of Columbia Pictures.

With more experience of the record industry under her belt, Nina’s contract with Colpix included the important clause which clearly handed all the creative control over to her as an artist. This included all the material that she recorded. Her first album for Colpix was the 1959 release of The Amazing Nina Simone and here is one of the tracks from the album It Might As Well Be Spring.

The song was from the 1945 film State Fair with music by Richard Rogers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year.

This album led to opportunities to perform in upscale venues including her first major New York show in theTown Hall in Manhattan. The evening was a resounding success and critics and audience alike were captivated not just by her incredible musicality but also her unique and spontaneous performance style. One of the songs that she performed that night was You Can Have Him by Irving Berlin, which had previously been covered by both Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald. It was such a stunning version that Colpix released the track as a single. Note the opening keyboard arpeggio that would become Nina’s signature throughout her career.

In 1960 Nina would achieve her second Pop and R&B chart success with her version of the original Bessie Smith classic “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out.” The blues song was written in 1923 by Jimmy Cox and the lyrics told the story from the point of view of a one-time millionaire during prohibition.

Nina’s increasing chart success and rising popularity resulted in an invitation to perform at the prestigious Newport Festival.

The festival had been established in 1954 as the First Annual American Jazz Festival and was held at the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island. It was financed by socialites Lorraine and Louis Lorillard for many years and it became one of the key venues for the top performers of the day. Following the success of the festival in the first year with over 13,000 attendees, the Lorillard’s bought a large estate called Belcourt in the hopes of holding the larger event in 1955 but planning permission was not granted. The festival did go ahead at Freebody Park which was a sports arena and workshops and receptions being held at Belcourt.

Not all the residents of Newport were in favour of the event. Jazz was not as popular amongst the wealthy residential community and they felt that the festival attracted an undesirable element. Mainly low income students and music fans without money for the high-end hotels who were sleeping rough across their exclusive environment. And of course many of the musicians and their fans were African American which in the 50s was a factor as it was across most of the country. The influx of thousands of people also caused logistic problems such as traffic congestion which only increased each year until 1960. Things got out of hand amongst the festival goers that year and the National Guard was called in to restore order. After that the festival underwent a number of changes to format before relocating to New York in the 70s.

However 1960 was the year that Nina Simone was invited to perform which she did on June 30th. She was accompanied by her long term musical collaborator Al Shackman on guitar, bassist Chris White and drummer Bobby Hamilton. Colpix recorded their performance and in 1961 released the popular blues track Trouble in Mind which gave Nina her third chart success.

Trouble in Mind is a blues song written by jazz pianist Richard M. Jones in the early 1920s and the first known recording of the song was in 1924. It has been covered many times by artists such as Dinah Washington, Sam Cooke and of course this version by Nina Simone.

Over the five years with Colpix Nina recorded nine albums and she had several tracks that were pivotal to her career including Cotton Eyed Joe and the lyrical and descriptive Norwegian folk song Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair. Nina also recorded one civil rights song, written by Oscar Brown jnr, Brown Baby which was a track on her fifth album for Colpix, At The Village Gate.

Next time we catch up with Nina Simone as she moves on from Colpix Records.

Buy Nina Simone Music
http://www.amazon.com/Nina-Simone/e/B000APGYE6

Additional sources
http://www.ninasimone.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Simone
http://denisesullivan.com/tag/al-schackman/

William Price King.

williampricekingWilliam Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all the series by William Price King at this link.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-jazz-and-music-series/

Thank you for popping in today and please feel free to share and we welcome your comments as always.

 

 

William Price King in Concert – A taste of Jazz with a quartet of exceptional musicians


This week we are treated to a Jazz medley from William Price King accompanied by Eric Sempe – Guitars, Nicolas Luchi – Bass and Jean-Luc Veran on drums.  This coming Saturday it is part four of the Nina Simone story and we both hope you will pop in and join us.

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.

cropped

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area. His album ‘Home’ is available to download and more details in the Buy Music for Christmas.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

Last week’s post of the Nina Simone Story.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-nina-simone-part-three-the-civil-rights-movement/

Last week’s William Price King in concert

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/william-price-king-in-concert-a-medley-of-original-compostions-and-jazz-standards/

All previous performances

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-in-concert/

Links to the stories on all Jazz Royalty.. Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald and Roberta Flack.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

Please feel free to share the music.