When Cassandra Wilson comes to town, listeners seeking plain-Jane, note-perfect renditions of their favorite jazz standards should bypass Orchestra Hall for the musically benign comfort of the nearest elevator. Although she’s touring behind her critically lauded cover album, Loverly, the singer’s smoldering, redefining approach to familiar tunes yields far-from-paint-by-numbers interpretations of chestnuts like "Caravan" and "The Very Thought of You." With spare arrangements built around stripped-down percussion and a lean, muscular backing ensemble—including her longtime collaborator and Chicago native Marvin Sewell on guitar—Wilson truly makes these songs her own. Hear them live now before the album shows up on every critic’s "Best of 2008" list.
Sep 26 at 8. $34-$79. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. 312-294-3000.
Photography: Clay Patrick McBride