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One of my greatest loves, Nina Simone. Favorite of her songs include Sinnerman, Lilac Wine, Ain’t Got No/ I Got Life, Feeling Good, My Baby Just Cares for Me, Mississippi Goddam, I Put a Spell On You, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and Sugar in My Bowl (which I still want).
Nina Simone (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.Her musical style arose from a fusion of gospel and pop songs with classical music, in particular with influences from her first inspiration, Johann Sebastian Bach and accompanied with her expressive jazz-like singing in her characteristic contralto.
A civil rights message was standard in Simone’s recording repertoire, becoming a part of her live performances. Simone performed and spoke at many civil rights meetings, such as at the Selma to Montgomery marches.
Simone’s bearing and stage presence earned her the title “High Priestess of Soul.” She was a piano player, singer, and performer, “separately and simultaneously”. On stage, Simone moved from gospel to blues, jazz, and folk, to numbers with European classical styling, and Bach-style fugal counterpoint.