Wilson Embraces The 'Glamour'

With her 1993 Blue Note album "Blue Light 'Til Dawn," Cassandra Wilson blazed a trail that inspired jazz vocalists to tap into the popular music they grew up with while also paying heed to earlier tra

With her 1993 Blue Note album "Blue Light 'Til Dawn," Cassandra Wilson blazed a trail that inspired jazz vocalists to tap into the popular music they grew up with while also paying heed to earlier traditions. A decade later, Wilson continues to find fertile ground in crossing genre borders with "Glamoured," due Oct. 7 from the label.

"I certainly didn't see myself as a pioneer then," Wilson tells Billboard. "But listening to music today, by both jazz vocalists and instrumentalists, I can see how I did open some doors."

Recorded in her hometown of Jackson, Miss., and home base of New York, "Glamoured" finds Wilson swooning in the joys and humbled by the disappointments of love's "complicated paths." "There is reverie here," she says. "That's what you get when you make it to the other side of the deep and darkness."

With her low-toned, honey-coated voice; finger-snapped rhythms; and sensuous, off-the-beat phrasing, Wilson delivers a percussive take on Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay," a heartfelt rendition of Willie Nelson's "Crazy," a sobered version of Sting's "Fragile," a funky, rocking spin on Muddy Waters' "Honey Bee" and a pensive interpretation of the 1972 soul ballad "If Loving You Is Wrong." She also poignantly covers her mentor Abbey Lincoln's tune "Throw It Away" in a quiet duet with bassist Reginald Veal.

For "Glamoured," Wilson reunited with her musical director, Brandon Ross. "He's a guitar god," she says. "He knows me, and he complements my voice." The chanteuse also hooked up with guitarist Fabrizio Sotti, who not only co-produced "Glamoured" but also co-wrote three of Wilson's six originals. She met him at the West Village club Sweet Rhythm earlier this year.

"Fabrizio knew a lot of my music and had even envisioned us working together," she says. "I knew his fascination with hip-hop would bring new textures to the production."