“Nina Simone At Carnegie Hall” by Nina Simone - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1963Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

I class this as a new album since only 1 track – the medley “The Other Woman / Cotton Eyed Joe” – had appeared before, each having been aired individually on the “Nina at Newport” LP back in 1960. Once again, Nina’s new album of works was presented via the live concert setting, this time on the 12th April 1963 at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall. She had appeared at the venue before – notably on 21st May 1961 when she shared the stage with her great friend and fellow civil rights activist Miriam Makeba. But this time was different; she would be the headline act – little girl blue in that big ol’ place, imagine. The great hall officially opened in May 1891, with a concert conducted in person by none other than the esteemed Russian composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Over the next 70 years, the hall had showcased world premieres of several of the world’s best orchestras, including works from Dvořák, Strauss, Gershwin and Ellington. Singers such as Judy Garland and Billie Holiday had graced the stages. Writing in his 2005 picture book, Andy Stroud (Nina's husband from 1961-1970) spoke about the background to this LP: “In 1963, Nina was adamant about making a solo appearance at Carnegie Hall in fulfillment of her childhood dream as the first black female classical pianist. None of the concert promoters would undertake such a presentation because they did not believe she could carry off a solo concert. Therefore, when I resigned from the NYPD [New York Police Department], I took my pension rebate and, on the advice of experts in the music industry, hired Felix Gerstman, New York City's premier concertmaster, to manage the presentation.” By the sounds of it, everything went well. Nina played on her terms; just as she would have done had she been performing Jazz, as played in an exclusive side street club. She fulfilled her dreams alright. We might not always see eye to eye in musical terms, but I have nothing but admiration for her. What a gal.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [06:13] 5.1.png Nina Simone - Black Swan [live ny ’63] (Gian Carlo Menotti) Alternative Folk
A2 [05:56] 5.0.png Nina Simone - Theme From "Samson And Delilah" [live ny ’63] (Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns) Classical
A3 [03:35] 4.5.png Nina Simone - If You Knew [live ny ’63] (Nina Simone) Soul Ballad
A4 [02:35] 6.6.png Nina Simone - Theme From "Sayonara", instrumental [live ny ’63] (Irving Berlin) Contemporary Classical
B1 [03:20] 3.5.png Nina Simone - The Twelfth Of Never [live ny ’63] (Paul Francis Webster, Jerry Livingston) Moodcore
B2 [06:55] 3.6.png Nina Simone - Will I Find My Love Today [live ny ’63] (Sean Fogarty, Sidney Shaw) Songwriter
B3 [07:25] 4.1.png Nina Simone - The Other Woman / Cotton Eyed Joe [live ny ’63] (Jessie Mae Robinson - Traditional) Songwriter

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