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Cassandra Wilson
Born: December 4, 1955, Jackson, Mississippi

Cassandra WilsonCassandra Wilson is primarily known as an accomplished jazz singer, although her stunning full, low voice and skill as a songwriter have encompassed other genres, and she has been heavily influenced by the musical traditions of the south, including the Delta blues. She cites the complexity of Robert Johnson's songwriting, guitar work and vocal delivery as one of her primary influences. Wilson is a prolific recording artist, and has followed up her 1985 debut with almost one album each year, and sometimes two. Her body of work includes acoustic blues, folk, jazz, and funk. Wilson's 1999 release, Traveling Miles, was a tribute to Miles Davis. She has toured with Wynton Marsalis. Her critically-acclaimed recent release, Belly of the Sun, was recorded in Mississippi with both her own band and local musicians and combines funk, pop and rock with a tribute to pure Delta blues.

Essential listening: "You Move Me," "Round Midnight," "Darkness on the Delta," "You Gotta Move," "Hot Tamales"