Nina Simone passes on

The Globe And Mail: Nina Simone, 70.

Nina Simone, the jazz great whose raspy, forceful voice helped define the civil rights movement, died Monday at her home in France, according to her U.S. booking agent. She was 70. […]

Simone, born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, N.C., was a classically trained pianist whose songs ranged from blues to spirtuals to classical fare. But she gained fame in 1959 with her recording of I Loves You Porgy, from the musical Porgy & Bess.

It was that recording of I Loves You Porgy which introduced me to Nina Simone. I had previously only heard Ella Fitzgerald’s 1958 recording of that tune, which she made with Louis Armstrong. Quite frankly, Ella’s swinging rendition is almost laughable compared to Nina’s soulful and heartfelt delivery, which still brings tears to my eyes. Nobody could swing like Ella Fitzgerald, but nobody could emote like Nina Simone.

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