More Than Music


A few years ago I was driving home from work listening to my usual jazz station when an unfamiliar version of “Over the Rainbow” began playing.  The simple beauty, timing and expressiveness of the singer caught my attention.  The guitar accompaniment sounded like 60s folk in its warm, steady and peaceful undertones.  But the singer sounded more like the classic jazz vocalists of the 40s and 50s, moving freely around the traditional melody with subtle use of syncopation, blues notes and blues patterns.  I was more than impressed and was moved emotionally.

Figuring that it must be a classic recording, I called the radio station to find out who the artist was.  I learned it was Eva Cassidy, a relatively unknown singer from Washington D.C. whose recordings were suddenly getting noticed after her death.  I have been a fan ever since.  Her tragic story makes her hopeful songs all the more meaningful.  And her short list of recordings includes so many of my favorite songs: What a Wonderful World, Fields of Gold, Blue Skies, I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger and Over the Rainbow.      

This year I picked up a book of sheet music with Eva Cassidy’s guitar and vocal arrangements.  It has now become my favorite guitar book to play and sing.  She is an inspiration to me.

jimmyblue jimmyblue
41-45, M
3 Responses Feb 10, 2010

Yes, I love her version of Fever.

So you must have head her sing Ain't No Sunshine? and Time after Time? and Fever? her version of 'Fever'!!! Such a yummy song.... ;)

I hope it is making a comeback, especially jazz vocal music. I like purely instrumental jazz too, but that has become so heady that I don't think it will ever have mass appeal. Fortunately, popular singers like Michael Buble, Nora Jones and Diana Krall are bringing back a style of vocal jazz reminiscent of the glory days, ala Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.