Review: Guitarist Sotti gives Wilson CD its sizzle

STEVEN WINE Associated Press Published:

Cassandra Wilson, "Another Country" (eOne Music)

Cassandra Wilson's a deferential diva on "Another Country." In fact, she lets her guitarist steal the show.

Fabrizio Sotti co-produced the album with Wilson, and he gives the set its sizzle with lyrical, inventive playing on acoustic and electric guitar. Sotti's jazzy solos are filled with fanciful flight a la Pat Metheny, and when he backs Wilson's singing, his radiant tone beautifully complements her smoky alto.

Sotti also played on Wilson's 2003 album, "Glamoured," which he produced, but he enjoys a more prominent performing role here. Credit Wilson for her generosity: Two of the album's 10 cuts even feature Sotti playing solo instrumentals.

Wilson's at her best on "Almost Twelve" and the title cut, both delivered over a bouncy Latin beat, and on the slow "No More Blues." But she's no Three Degrees singing "When Will I See You Again," which is undermined by her shaky intonation. The same issue plagues the languid "O Sole Mio," and her lead vocal merely detracts from the charming children's choir on the closing "Olomuroro."

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: The excellent opener "Red Guitar" has Wilson telling us that colors dance, and Sotti's solo makes it happen.