Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue

Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue

      Thom Jurek: ‘ Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue, released in 1957, was Nina Simone’s first recording, originally issued on the Bethlehem label. Backed by bassist Jimmy Bond and Albert “Tootie” Heath, it showcases her ballad voice as one of mystery and sensuality and showcases her up-tempo jazz style with authority and an enigmatic down-home feel that is nonetheless elegant. Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue also introduced a fine jazz pianist. Simone was a solid improviser who never strayed far from the blues. Check the opener, her reading of Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo,” which finger-pops and swings while keeping the phrasing deep-blue. It is contrasted immediately with one of the — if not the — definitive reads of Willard Robison’s steamy leave-your-lover ballad “Don’t Smoke in Bed.” The title track, written by Rodgers & Hart, features “Good King Wenceslas” as a classical prelude to one of the most beautiful pop ballads ever written. It is followed immediately by the funky swing in “Love Me or Leave Me” with a smoking little piano solo in the bridge where Bach meets Horace Silver and Bobby Timmons. It’s also interesting to note that while this was her first recording, Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue‘s grooves evidence an artist who arrives fully formed; many of the traits Simone displayed throughout her career as not only a vocalist and pianist but as an arranger are put on first notice here. “My Baby Just Cares for Me” has a stride shuffle that is extrapolated on in the piano break. Her instrumental and improvising skills are put to good use on Tadd Dameron’s “Good Bait,” which is transformed into something classical from its original bebop intent. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” feels more like some regal gospel song than the Rodgers & Hammerstein show tune it was. Of course, one of Simone’s signature tunes was her version of “I Loves You, Porgy,” which appears here for the first time and was released as a single. Her own “Central Park Blues” is one of the finest jazz tunes here, and it is followed with yet another side of Simone’s diversity in her beautiful take on the folk-gospel tune “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” with quiet and determined dignity and drama. Another of her instrumentals compositions, “African Mailman,” struts proud with deep Afro-Caribbean roots and rhythms.’

 

Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue Tracklist

  1. 00:00. Mood Indigo
  2. 4:07 Don’t Smoke in Bed
  3. 07:20 He Needs Me
  4. 09:53 Little Girl Blue
  5. 14:15 Love Me or Leave Me
  6. 17:40 My Baby Just Cares for Me
  7. 21:20 You’ll Never Walk Alone (instr)
  8. 25:08 Plain Gold Ring
  9. 29:06 Good Bait (instr)
  10. 34:37 I Loves You Porgy
  11. 38:50 Central Park Blues (instr)

Release Date: 1957
Duration: 55:48
Genre: Vocal Jazz Pop/Rock
Styles: Standards Vocal Jazz Modern Jazz Vocals Torch Songs

Nina Simone - Little Girl Blue

Licence YouTube standard

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