Nina Simone Live in Paris (Part II)

The Olympia 1969

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Al Schackman — Electric guitar

Gene Perla — Bass guitarist

Don Alias — Drummer

Weldon Irvine — Organist

Gina Rothchild — Vocalist

Doris Willingham — Vocalist

Nina Simone — Singer, Bandleader, pianist

Program notes

In 1969 Nina Simone was at the height of her artistic powers. It was the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, and her voice had been inseparable from the cause ever since 1964's masterpiece "Mississippi Goddam." Yet as her political activism rose, her music took a back seat and she became more and more engaged, more aligned with Malcolm X's advocation for revolution rather than Martin Luther King's peaceful resistance arguments, though she had great respect for Dr. King, also. In 1967, two years before this concert, she recorded another track that would become one of her enduring pieces, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free," by Billy Taylor, on her album Silk and Soul. 

Part two of this unique concert at the Olympia venue in Paris starts with a touching and raw performance of "The Other Woman," by Jessie Mae Robinson. It is an opening laced with deep sadness, taken from her 1959 album Nina Simone at Town Hall. Next up is a beautiful cover of the famous "To Love Somebody," boosted by the presence of two fantastic backing singers. Here, the band is able to let go a little more, with the rock and R&B accents coming through. Yet whether on slower, more pensive tracks or ones with a bold and joyous edge, Nina Simone is as captivating as it gets – one of the best performers of all time without a shadow of a doubt. The second segment also features her own track "Four Women," covers of Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and more. There is only one Nina Simone. 

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