This Week’s Hot CD: ‘Higher Ground’
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Higher Ground (Blue Note Records)
From the funky “Go to the Mardi Gras,” featuring Art and Aaron Neville, to Cassadra Wilson’s prayerful version of Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” (with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra), “Higher Ground” pays tribute to hurricane-devastated New Orleans and its rich musical heritage.
The 15-song collection was recorded at Lincoln Center on Sept. 17, three weeks after Hurricane Katrina, during the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert. Artists include Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis, Bette Midler, Dianne Reeves, James Taylor and Buckwheat Zydeco.
There are joy and hope as well as sadness and reflection in the individual performances. But no song expresses the heart and soul of this album better than Reeves’ powerful, uplifting “The House I Live In.” It sums up what Marsalis calls America’s “transcendent and abiding soul.”