Nina Simone was an exceptional artist. She was gifted with a precocious talent and she played music at home and in church. Nina originally counted on becoming the first black female classical pianist ; her plans were thwarted and that frustration no doubt permeated almost her entire career. Yet she became a diva capable of combining the jazz world with those of the classics and soul, and among other titles she recorded are some of the most vibrant and moving performances of Wild is the Wind or You Can Have Him, I don’t Want Him. She was one of the greatest artists of her time, and her fervour and rigorous demands concerning the quality of her music took her to the highest summits, whether in her compositions or in her vocal and piano performances. For all that, she never forgot her condition as a black woman in the America of the Sixties, and her active commitment to defending the rights of the black minority was exemplary - and at times even excessive, for which she was often reproached. She has left us some of the most beautiful chapters in jazz and soul music, among them the 23 titles that appear in this album.
The history of music shows us that different kinds and forms follow each other. And that the latest trend overshadows the one that came before it. Today it's difficult to say exactly which trend dominates, as there are so many music currents that overlap and intersect. Mainstream exists no longer. Yet one thing is certain: each music form is built on the music that precedes it. There would be no jazz without classical music, no rock without blues, no rock without jazz, no rap without soul music, no sampling without the riffs of either soul or rock… and therefore, inside each genre you find different chapters in the history of music. And that is why it is so important to understand their origins: they shed the light that is necessary for an understanding of the music born every day.
The richness of jazz lies at the origin of so much music today that it is essential to discover this creative wealth. The Essential Works of Masters of Jazz bring to light those 20th century creations that still exert an influence on the majority of musicians today — whether they are aware of it or not.
The Essential Works of Masters of Jazz gather the fundamental creations of the music of today.