The Newport Jazz Festival has always provided a platform for Nina Simone to showcase her immense talent, and the long lost performance of You've Got To Learn is the perfect evidence.
On July 2, 1966, the audience at the Newport Jazz Festival witnessed a performance that encapsulated the breadth of Nina Simone's artistry. From the awe-inspiring rendition of "You've Got To Learn" that kicked off the set, to the swinging rendition of "Mississippi Goddam," Simone mesmerized the crowd. The concert concluded with an encore performance of "Music For Lovers," leaving the lucky ones in attendance in awe. This previously unreleased recording of the concert is a testament to the unparalleled experience of hearing Nina Simone live. The liner notes for this special release are penned by esteemed scholar and author, Shana L. Redmond.
Nina Simone was an extraordinary artist, firmly cementing her place as an icon of American music in the 20th century. She possessed a unique ability to tell stories through her music, earning her the title of a griot - an African oral historian. With her remarkable talent, she crafted a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through her magnificent body of work. She was aptly named the "High Priestess of Soul," as she had the power to cast a spell on listeners, drawing them into her captivating and hypnotic performances, causing them to lose all sense of time and space. Nina Simone became a name that the world would forever associate with greatness.
When Nina Simone passed away on April 21, 2003, she left behind a timeless treasure trove of musical brilliance spanning over four decades. From her breakthrough hit, the 1959 classic "I Loves You Porgy," which reached the Top 10, to the title track of her 1993 album A Single Woman, she consistently delivered honest and emotionally charged performances. Despite the thirty-three-year gap between these recordings, the common thread that unites them is the unwavering commitment to infusing every piece of work with genuine emotion. This unyielding approach became Nina's signature musical style, defining her legacy.
Nina Simone's impact extends far beyond her recorded music. Her influence as a fearless artist, unafraid to use her platform to address social and political issues, has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape. She used her voice to champion civil rights and to fight against injustice, leaving an enduring legacy that continues to resonate with audiences today.