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The Nina Simone Database

After Hours
Additional discography

Verve 314 526 702-2 (1995 US)

Verve gets a lot of mileage out of its jazz catalog by repackaging a lot of material under loose thematic configurations. After Hours, as you could probably guess from the title, focuses on Simone's jazz ballads, with 16 tracks from her mid-'60s Philips Albums. The material is pretty good - "Wild Is the Wind," "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair," "I Loves You Porgy," and Van McCoy's "For Myself" are all among her best sides from the period. But Simone was an eclectic who could handle much more than jazzy ballads.
Unless you know for sure that you prefer this facet of her work above all else, the more wide-ranging Verve Jazz Masters 17 is a much better introduction to her mid-'60s work. The only (marginal) bonus of this collection is an unedited version of "Little Girl Blue."
-Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Tracks sorted by number (sort by session or by title)
 1 [3:07] Night Song   Arthur K. Adams, Charles Strouse

 2 [4:17] Lilac Wine   James Shelton

 3 [3:11] Tell Me More and More and Then Some   Billie Holiday

 4 [3:04] The Other Woman   Jessie Mae Robinson

 5 [6:59] Wild Is the Wind   Dimitri Tiomkin, Ned Washington

 6 [3:23] Keeper of the Flame   Charles Derringer

 7 [2:53] Images   Waring Cuney, Nina Simone unaccompanied vocal

 8 [3:28] Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair   Traditional

 9 [4:17] Nobody   Alex Rogers, Bert Williams

 10 [4:20] Little Girl Blue   Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers unedited version

 11 [4:21] Don't Explain   Arthur Herzog jr, Billie Holiday

 12 [2:32] I Loves You Porgy   George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward

 13 [3:59] If I Should Lose You   Ralph Rainger, Leo Robin

 14 [5:27] Don't Smoke in Bed   Willard Robison

 15 [2:57] End of the Line   John Edmondson, Cynthia Medley

 16 [2:05] For Myself   Van McCoy with Orace Hott orchestra

"All musicians understand that the real art is how you play a ballad." So concur Hank Crawford and David Sanborn, two generation of saxophonists, in a recent down beat joint interview.

to be continued...

Simone's music, like her emotions, defies facile categorization.  "Though I include jazz in what I do, I am not a jazz pianist at all," she told a New York Times interviewer in 1983.

In her music here, Simone depicts the self as it strives for definition and connection with others.  One must turn to recordings other than these to learn about her ethnic pride, political intractability, and salty sexuality or to get a few rare glimpses of her impish humor.  But, as Crawford and Sanborn know, "the real art is how you play a ballad"-- and that art is captured here.  Just as her career began with a ballad, her most recent recording, her first album for a major American label in two decades, is an all-ballad collection featuring lush string orchestrations and containing three compositions by, of all people, Rod McKuen.  Nina Simone's music continues to be unpredictable, enigmatic, and ceaselessly provocative.