Nina Simone - Pastel Blues


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The album is a collection of jazz and blues standards played by Simone in New York between 1964 and 1965. Her arrangements are relatively understated, the beauty of the album pours out of her fingers and her rich mahogany voice. Her conversational piano-play is beyond charming throughout, like a knowing look from an old friend, but her classical training glistens with glorious melancholy on End of the Line and later explodes on Sinnerman (arguably the greatest piano riff in pop music). Nothing is as arresting as the haunting threat and seething anger of Strange Fruit but the album's crescendo, Sinnerman, a riveting rearrangement of a traditional gospel song, comes awful close.