Cassandra Wilson (born December 4, 1955) is an American jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer from Jackson, Mississippi. Described by critic Gary Giddins as "a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack who has expanded the playing field" by incorporating country, blues and folk music into her work, Wilson has won two Grammy Awards.
Cassandra Wilson is the third and youngest child of Herman Fowlkes, Jr., a guitarist, bassist and music teacher; and Mary McDaniel, an elementary school teacher who eventually earned her Ph.D. in education. Between her mother’s love for Motown and her father’s dedication to jazz, Wilson’s parents sparked her early interest in music.
Wilson’s earliest formal musical education consisted of classical lessons; she studied piano from the age of six to thirteen and played clarinet in the middle school concert and marching bands. When she tired of this training, she asked her father to teach her the guitar. Instead, he gave her a lesson in self-reliance, suggesting she study Mel Bay method books. Wilson explored guitar on her own, developing what she has described as an “intuitive” approach. During this time she began writing her own songs, adopting a folk style. She also appeared in the musical theater productions, including The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy, crossing racial lines in a recently desegregated school system.
For college, Wilson attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University. She graduated with a degree in mass communications. Outside of the classroom, she spent her nights working with R&B, funk, and pop cover bands, also singing in local coffeehouses. The Black Arts Music Society, founded by John Reese and Alvin Fielder, provided her with her first opportunities to perform bebop.
In 1981, she moved to New Orleans for a position as assistant public affairs director for the local television station, WDSU. She did not stay long. Working with mentors who included elder statesmen Earl Turbinton, Alvin Batiste, and Ellis Marsalis, Wilson found encouragement to seriously pursue jazz performance and moved to New York City the following year.
Wilson was married to Anthony Wilson from 1981 to 1983.
She has a son, Jeris, born in the late 1980s. Her song "Out Loud (Jeris' Blues)" is from the album She Who Weeps. For many years she and her son lived in New York City's Sugar Hill, in an apartment that once belonged to Count Basie, Lena Horne and the boxer Joe Louis.
In 2000, Wilson married actor Isaach de Bankolé, who directed her in the concert film Traveling Miles: Cassandra Wilson (2000).
Wilson and her mother are both members of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Loverly - Cassandra Wilson (2008)
01 Lover Come Back to Me 4:16
02 A Day In The Life Of A Fool 4:58
03 Wouldn't It Be Loverly 5:02
04 Gone with the Wind 5:51
05 Caravan 4:23
06 'Til There Was You 6:42
07 Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most 5:01
08 Arere 5:42
09 St. James Infirmary 4:40
10 Dust My Broom 4:46
11 The Very Thought of You 4:47
12 Sleepin' Bee 4:35