It's a testament to the mysterious, haunting Nina Simone that the only one who dares approach her is the similarly haunting Antony (of the Johnsons). Plus, he's a man. For the first week we listened to Simone enthralled, while experimenting with teas we didn't know if she was man or woman, since all we had to go on was the captivating yet indeterminate sound coming out of a cafe's speakers. (We had the same gender trouble much later with Antony, but so did everyone.) Seemingly without trying, which means he tries very hard, he captures the heartbreaking mood, if not the actual timbre, of classic Simone. Soon we'll see someone else approximating the icon: Mary J. Blige, who plays her in an upcoming biopic it has the ring of excellent casting, but Simone is not easily tamed. As necessary research for your future judgment of Blige, let yourself be swept away at The Golden Age of Soul: 1960-1975, an evening hosted by local music author and film-clip ringleader Richie Unterberger. The night features rare film clips of Simone and other soul greats including Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Redding.
Tue., Sept. 21, 6:30 p.m., 2010