Customer Reviews for

To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    review: Nina Simone: To Be Free:

    Nina Simone has recorded some of the most memorable music of the 20th century. Prolific is an understatement; Nina Simone was a virtuoso on stage and in the recording studio. Between 1957 and 1973, Simone completed 27 albums for four different record labels. Unlike her personal heroine Billie Holliday, not only could Nina sing exquisitely, she, herself was a classically trained pianist. This made her a creative force as composer and lyricist. Because of this, Nina had a musician's ear and knew how to craft classic originals and adapt famous standards of her day.<BR/><BR/>Many of these are found in the new dynamic four disc (3 CD and 1 DVD set) To Be Free. Not only is this a collection of vintage songs written and recorded by Nina Simone, this is the soundtrack to American history from an artist that is unknown by the majority of modern music fans. It is a criminal shame that Nina Simone is rarely mentioned up there with Billie Holliday, Aretha Franklin, and Patsy Cline as queens of American music.<BR/><BR/>To me she surpasses all of those incredible singers because Nina composed the majority of the music and lyrics to all her originals. And Simone came up with the arrangements of her favorite artists that she covered, like Gershwin's "I Love's You, Porgy" Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quite Pas," George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun" and Bob Dylan's "Just like a Woman."<BR/><BR/>Although To Be Free includes live versions of "Wild is the Wind," the Langston Hughes-penned powerhouse "Backlash Blues" any my personal favorite "Who Knows Where the Times Goes." The 30 minute DVD, Nina: A Historical Perspective is a breathtaking insight inside the mind, the music and the voice of Nina Simone told in her own words.<BR/><BR/>Inside the music and film of To Be Free, you will see and hear why and how she inspired a generation of artists and bands. Thanks to Mary J. Blige, Lauren Hill, Alicia Keys, Cat Power, Bowie and Buckley, the legend of Nina Simone sings on within them, their vocal styles and covers of her originals. We must not forget the many films that have showcased Nina's voice and songs and helped introduce her music to a new generation of soulful enthusiasts. If you're a novice and searching for a place to start your education of Nina Simone look no further than To Be Free. This box set captures the beauty, power and essence of all that encompassed the artistry and myth that was Nina Simone.<BR/><BR/>Adrian Ernesto Cepeda<BR/>

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic Nina

    I highly recommend "To Be Free." The interview on the accompanying DVD is the jewel of this compilation. During this interview, one relates to Nina as she listens, sings, shares, laughs, and dances. She is a lady whose body of work reveals her priorities: social change and equity. incredible talent who travailed through unjust social constructs to make a beautiful contribution to humanity. To think of Nina is to think of artistry. This compilation serves as a textbook that can benefit any artist. The accompanying notes are brief and informative. And, well, the music "sings" for itself. Bravo!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 13, 2009

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    Posted September 25, 2009

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    Posted November 26, 2008

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    Posted November 23, 2009

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