Friday, December 19, 2008

Box Set of the Day - "To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story"

Box set of the Day (3CD + DVD)
Nina Simone: "To Be Free - The Nina Simone Story" (Sony) 2008

Jazz singer and pianist Nina Simone was such a prodigious talent that even a four-disc box set might seem too small a canvas to fully sketch her genius, but "To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story" is nonetheless an ideal introduction. The three CDs contain 51 tracks covering Simone's career from 1953 to 1993, from her beginnings as a classically trained supper club artiste through her period of political awakening into her later, idiosyncratic blend of jazz, blues, pop, and rock. Including tracks from her periods at the Bethlehem, Colpix, Philips, RCA, PM, CTI (which released the controversial "Baltimore" LP, my favorite Nina album ever) and Elektra labels. The fourth disc is a DVD containing a documentary film with live concert footage that was completed in 1970 but never released until this set. The set also contains eight previously unreleased songs and a book with essays and track-by-track commentary. Includes 24 live tracks and 8 previously unreleased songs, plus the first ever Nina Simone DVD featuring a stunning documentary and 9 additional performances

Truly one of of the greatest African-American female vocalists of the 20th century Nina Simone (1933-2003) holds a special position of honor for the fearless role she played as an uncompromising ambas­sador of cultural pride at the height of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements from the late 1950s to the 1970s.

The musical roots and branches of Nina Simone’s life are explored in depth. Includes an alternative of the classic track, Ain’t Got No-I Got Life, which continues to be featured in Müller’s advertising campaign.

Aside form the 3 discs & dvd, it comes complete with previously unseen photography from Simone‘s family archives, photos from the personal collection of Nina Simone historian Sylvia Hampton as well as meticulously researched track-by-track annotations written by David Nathan.

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