Musicians in Their Own Words: Cassandra Wilson Grammy-winning singer Cassandra Wilson arrived on the music scene in 1990s with her innovative take on jazz. Wilson tells how her unusual approach has its roots in the music of trumpeter Miles Davis.

Musicians in Their Own Words: Cassandra Wilson

Musicians in Their Own Words: Cassandra Wilson

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Detail from the CD cover for 'Glamoured.' hide caption

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Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson likes to experiment with her band, testing the limits of the music and finding new places for her voice in the mix. The group is somewhat unusual for a vocalist. With no piano to support her voice with chords, Wilson prefers to sing against the sound of a harmonica — or maybe a banjo. And to lay down the groove, she has both a percussionist AND a drummer.

The material she chooses also displays a disdain for convention. Her latest CD, 2003's Glamoured, features songs by Muddy Waters, Sting and Willie Nelson. Performers on the disc include drummer Teri Lynne Carrington, percussionist Jeffrey Haynes, guitar and banjo player Brandon Ross, harmonica player Gregoire Maret and bassist Reginald Veal.

Features in the series are produced by David Schulman and NPR's Jeffrey Freymann-Weyr.