Title - Little Girl Blue (2021 Stereo Remaster)
Artist - Nina Simone
For those unaware, it’s rare when a debut album introduces a musician who already has a fully developed artistic vision, but Little Girl Blue is one such recording.
Released in February, 1959, it reveals Nina Simone as having already honed her unique talents as a singer, pianist, and arranger.
It is amazing to consider that she was not yet 25 years old and had only played her first professional gig a little more than three years before recording these tracks — which were done all in one day — at the end of 1957.
BMG is proud to present a brand-new reissue of Little Girl Blue, which has been justifiably celebrated as a timeless classic.
In all honesty, these 11 tracks are still thrilling to experience nearly 65 years after they were recorded.
1. Mood Indigo
2. Don’t Smoke in Bed
3. He Needs Me
4. Little Girl Blue
5. Love Me or Leave Me
6. My Baby Just Cares For Me
7. Good Bait
8. Plain Gold Ring
9. You’ll Never Walk Alone
10. I Loves You, Porgy
11. Central Park Blues
Backed by bassist Jimmy Bond and Albert “Tootsie Heath”, it showcases her ballad voice as one of mystery and sensuality and showcases her uptempo jazz style with authority and an enigmatic down-home feel that is nonetheless elegant.
The album also introduced a fine jazz pianist. Simone was a solid improviser who never strayed far from the blues. Check the opener, her up-tempo interpretation 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. Up next is the soft and sultry piano ballad He Needs Me which is backed by the title track, written by Rodgers & Hart, and which features Good King Wenceslas as a classical prelude to one of the most beautiful pop ballads ever written.
Then comes 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 and that is followed by the strident shuffle of My Baby Just Cares for Me and then Simone’s 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).
Simone delivers yet another haunting, heart-aching ballad this time in the form of Plain Gold Ring, and then we get her version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which 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 very own spirited instrumental Central Park Blues (and one of the finest jazz tunes here, in my humble opinion) bringing the beautifully remastered album to a close.
Little Girl Blue’s multi-phased release begins on June 1 with a digital release (on high-definition and standard audio) that coincides with African-American Music Appreciation Month.
A Barnes & Noble exclusive clear blue 180-gram vinyl edition will be available starting July 16, while August 13 is the date Little Girl Blue comes out globally on 180-gram black vinyl and CD.
Additionally, this newly restored and remastered stereo version was engineered and produced by Grammy Award winners Michael Graves and Cheryl Pawelski respectively, with the vinyl cut by renowned engineer Kevin Gray.
In her essay written specifically for this release, Yale Professor and author of the acclaimed book Liner Notes for the Revolution, Daphne A. Brooks, puts it best when she assures that Little Girl Blue presents “an astonishingly daring, dazzlingly confident, endlessly adventurous artist with a deep well of formidable instrumentality up her sleeve as well as a wide and robust, rich and varied knowledge of jazz, blues, American songbook, folk and spiritual standards and aesthetics.”
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