Singer Melissa Morgan does an impressively smoldering cover of “Wild Is the Wind,” a song associated with Nina Simone. Morgan dials back some of the intensity a little, which is probably a wise direction to take the song, given the fact that Simone’s version is already about as intense as a song can reasonably be, with both smoke and fire.
Morgan can operate in a Billie Holiday mode, turning notes inward and expressive instead of forceful and big. She has a mellow and poised approach, but she can also thread in sultry and bluesy touches. On her most recent album, “Days Like This,” Morgan sings “California Soul,” a song whose title captures its spirit pretty nicely, with a sunny tone and a gentle groove.
Melissa Morgan performs at The Side Door, 85 Lyme St., Old Lyme, Friday, Dec. 29, 8:30p.m. Tickets are $35. 860-434-0886 or thesidedoorjazz.com.