Friday, June 06, 2008

I just listened to a recording of Nina Simone, 'Feelings' at Montreux Jazz festival 1976. I never have heard somebody singing a song so emotionally and I never have seen such sad black eyes .
You can see it at YouTube
She requests the audience to join her singing the chorus : Come on, you know this song. But the people are so flabbergasted by all the grief coming from stage, that there is a total silence in the hall. Nobody felt the need to sing or clap with the soft vulnerable vocals of with emotional outburst. In fact Nina's singing was equal to crying. And without any support she looks even more lonely. Her singing has virtuoso piano intermezzo, showing her background as a classical educated pianist.

What happened to Nina Simone that she was in this mood? In 1966 broke up with her husband and manager and ended the cooperation with her record company RCA. Her last record with this label was named "It is finished". She intended to quit her career. Nina left to Africa and only gave concerts was she was short of money. In 1976 financial problems made her return to Europe. Nina begged the manager of Montreux Jazz Festival to fit her in the already fully booked schedule. There was only 20 minutes available for her (and she was paid accordingly). In the end the planned twenty minutes concert turned into a full hour performance.