Nnenna Freelon: Tales Of Wonder: Celebrating Stevie Wonder (2002)
By interpreting these songs in her own jazz style, Nnenna Freelon has given them new life. Sure, there’s a drummer’s backbeat and lots of surround-sound harmony floating around her. But each piece takes on a slower appearance in Freelon’s hands. She soothes each one into a lush ballad that writhes and circles its path over a sullen winter landscape or an expansive oceanfront sand path. Even “My Cherie Amour” hesitates somewhat between phrases to permit Freelon’s trademark form of expression. Her voice treats each song to an original interpretation that mellows from Stevie Wonder’s zeal. “Bird of Beauty” and “Another Star” soar faster than the rest, with driving, up-tempo excitement. Most of the session is intended to leave room for Freelon to express the way she feels about these songs. She’s simply echoing the way we all feel about Stevie Wonder’s music, and how much they’ve meant to the development of modern music. This one’s a fine tribute.
Track Listing: Get It All; These Are Soulful DaysOverjoyed; Creepin
Personnel: Nnenna Freelon- vocals; Chuck Loeb- guitar; Bahiri Johnson- percussion; Brandon McClune- keyboards; Gerald Veasley- bass; Woody Williams- drums; Gerard Niewood- tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Dave Samuels- vibraphone; Richard Locker- cello on