Written by | Ray Cornelius
It was all about Nina Simone on Friday evening at Atlanta’s newest hot spot, City Winery. The hip, intimate music venue and on-site winery featured the soulful sounds of Chicago-based jazz and blues singer, Lynne Jordan.
I was first introduced to her by indie filmmaker, Jeff L. Lieberman, who recently produced the acclaimed documentary, “The Amazing Nina Simone.” I was instrumental in helping him get the film screened at Atlanta’s Plaza Theatre last fall and he thought it was important for Jordan and I to meet as well since we were both huge fans of Simone’s life and musical career.
Jordan opened her cabaret style show with a brief history lesson on Simone and how her music has influenced her career. From there she went right into Simone’s most popular and well loved tunes such as the blues-inspired, ” Do I Move You” and “Work Song (Chain Gang).” She then sashayed her way through the brassy and sassy “Feeling Good,” “Sugar in My Bowl,” and “Be My Husband.” Following those hip-shaking numbers was the soul-stirring French tune, “Ne Ma Quita Pas. ” It’s a song that Jordan loves to perform considering she is very fluent in the language. However, halfway through it, she flubbed on a few of the lyrics and started it over much to the audience’s delight.
A very serious moment in the show came at the beginning of her performance of ‘Strange Fruit.” Jordan shared a very personal family story about her grandfather, the late Rev. David V. Revere, who fled Georgia to Ohio after striking a white man in the early 1900’s. Her great-grandmother hid him in a empty log in the woods behind her home while angry white lynchers sought to find him and kill him. Her great-grandmother also had to feed him during wee hours of the night until Ohio relatives were able to raise enough money to send for him. That story shifted the tone of the show from Simone’s pop tunes to her more activist-styled compositions like “Mississippi Goddam,” the unforgettable “Four Women,” and the negro anthem, “I Wish I Knew How It Feels to Be Free.”
Jordan closed out her 90-minute set with the Simone classics—“I Put a Spell On You,” “Sinnerman” and the Five StairSteps classic, “Ooh Child – Someday.”
Take a look at the a few more photos below:
Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com