The now-legendary Nina Simone began her recording career in 1959, after briefly studying classical piano at Juilliard and performing at an Atlantic City nightclub where the club's owner allegedly ordered her to sing as she played. Simone specializes in the eclectic, and her personal variety of musical magic is without equal. With her androgynous, deeply burnished vocals and her extraordinary, classically influenced piano technique, Simone refashions any song to fit her own fiercely artistic vision. Always cutting edge, her sound has influenced and continues to influence other artists.
NINA'S CHOICE is a reissue of a fine 1963 compilation of favorite tracks that Simone selected from her five prior albums on the Colpix label. Every song is a stunner. The insanely quirky "Rags and Old Iron" sounds like something off a Tom Waits album. The strange, slow tango of "Just Say I Love Him" features the brilliantly haunting guitar work of Al Shackman, Simone's longtime guitarist. Also included here is a rollicking version of the traditional "Little Liza Jane," a highpoint of Simone's appearance at Newport in 1960. This thoughtfully selected compilation is well worth owning.