Nina Simone

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Nina Simone was a singular artist, and she went where she pleased, leaving behind a recorded legacy that is passionate, political, defiant, and delicate by turns, no matter what strain of folk, blues, jazz, or gospel she was dipping into, and she did it all with dignity, grace, and intelligence. She could simply sing anything and make it work, and her unique mixture of passion, empowerment, liberation, and love continues to make her recorded work speak powerfully a decade or more into the 21st century. This random but still engaging set includes signature songs she made her own, her striking versions of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" and the Gershwins' "I Loves You, Porgy" (live in New York from 1964) among them. Simone didn't just sing a song -- she made it hers.

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