In the spirit of active listening, I want to put up a little challenge: I dare you to actively listen to the following four artists singing the same piece, “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and compare them. This is not about playing favorites, but about noticing the beauty, spirit and individualism of each interpretation. Happy listening.
First up, the High Priestess of Soul. Sorry the recording cuts off a little at the end, but it’s the only one available on YouTube. Believe me, I looked. But I couldn’t resist posting because she’s perfectly, well, soulful, without ever being overbearing or gushy.
Next the one-of-a-kind Cassandra Wilson. Pure honesty. Very earthy, and totally natural. If Tracy Chapman were a jazz artist, she might sound something like this.
I had to include the man who, for me, IS the voice of cool jazz. Understatement can say so much.
And last but certainly not least, Lady Day. Is this what heartbreak sounds like? She’s so raw. It’s all out there, whether you’re ready to hear it or not.
I’ve been listening to these four versions a lot this week and keep switching between them, noticing different things each time. If you’re really brave, you’ll come back and listen again, and I promise you’ll hear something new.