At the Village Gate
• Recorded in New York City in 1961.
• Re-mastering by: Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios
In the intimate ambiance of The Village Gate, Nina Simone made pure magic with her voice and on the keyboard, one Manhattan evening back in 1961. She sang and played with a trio, which featured her favorite guitarist, Al Shackman. We are so fortunate that the moment was captured and recorded.
I can’t really categorize Nina’s sound or her music and call her “just” a fabulous jazz vocalist. Although, she plays extraordinary jazz with her voice, as in “Just In Time.” She has been often called a musical anomaly, because there is no one category for her work. She was trained as a classical pianist, and in cuts like “Bye Bye Blackbird,” the complexity of her piano comes through loud and clear. Her folk songs, like the biting “House Of The Rising Sun,” and “Zungo” an African work song, place her at the top of a long list of folk singers. Ms. Simone’s gospel songs, i.e., “Children Go Where I Send You,” can raise the roof and bring down the house, as she did at the Gate in ’61. She is a protest singer, “Brown Baby,” and an actress, capable of an extraordinary range of emotions.
Nina has the rare ability to dig into her material and bring unexpected meaning to familiar lyrics. She is eclectic with her taste and her repertoire. But whatever touches Nina, and whatever Nina touches, will reach you and evoke an emotional response. Her music is as fresh today, as it was 42 years ago, singing for that Manhattan audience. They could not have loved her more then, than we do now. Jana L. Perskie