NINA SIMONE ‘The Montreux Years’ 2CD


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Two of the most iconic female singers of jazz and blues, Nina Simone and Etta James, are superb choices to initiate BMG’s new collection series. The Montreux Years, chronicling legendary and previously unreleased live performances from the festival’s storied history.  The sound is immaculate and each of these 2CD/2LP sets are packaged in a hardbound book format, complete with extensive liner notes and previously unseen photography.   The crystalline sound is due to a technology called MQA, which captures the sound so well that the listener practically feels present at the show.  Indeed, the adoring audiences are the unsung stars of both projects.

Nina Simone – Nina’s collection is like a synopsis of her career from the late’60s to the ’90s as she established a lasting bond with the event and its co-creator and director Nobs. Her trust is reflected in her passionate performances and the freedom to express herself with selections from all five of her concerts.  The second CD in the collection captures her poignant 1968 performance in its entirely.  Her fiery and unpredictable show from 1976, long considered one of the festival’s most explosive across all artists) has maybe her most emotive take of “Backlash Blues” along with “Little Girl Blue (Pt 1 and 2),” “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” “Stars,” and “African Mailman.”