While the festival Starzy i Mlodzi celebrated its 20th anniversary, Cassandra Wilson, undisputedly the biggest star of this year edition, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the "Blue Light 'Til Dawn".
You kinda know what to expect from a concert like this, there's not much element of surprise, but there's plenty of musical pleasures to enjoy. Most of the vocal stars wannabes think that the important thing is to hit the high notes with ease. Cassandra's voice is low and smooth, her singing seduces, dark and silky, focusing on a emotional depth of the song and not the effective but trivial ornaments. And the less instruments are filling the background, the better her bluesy voice sounds.
I wouldn't mind in fact that the whole concert would be played by her with Brandon Ross (absolutely precious slide, rural blues sound on the acoustic guitar) and Lonnie Plaxico (noble and groovy). They way the three played the encore "Strange Fruit" was absolutely electrifying (although played acoustically). O the of the many highlights was as well the silky and seductive "You don't know what love is", for the most part a vocal - guitar duo.
The repertoire consisted mostly of lush blues and ballads, texture of dark honey (not the too obvious sugar, although the last song before the encore was a bit too sweet). Quite honestly I did not care much for the few uptempo moments, including rather unnecessary guitar tones by Cassandra. The playing by the other members of the band was consistently high quality but I'd find the piano and harmonica solos bit too sweet.
An evening of musical pleasure of such quality, almost two hours of it, left the audience, including my humble self, completely satisfied.
Cassandra Wilson - vocal, guitar
Brandon Ross - guitars
Gregoire Maret - harmonica
John Cowherd - piano
Lonnie Plaxico - double bass
John Davis - drums
Kijow Centrum. Krakow. 13.04. Starzy i Mlodzi Festival