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Ilona Knopfler

On “Live the Life,” her new release for Mack Avenue, French chanteuse Ilona Knopfler makes a strong musical statement that further defines her place in the jazz world. The CD features twelve timeless songs from the pens of such legendary and diverse songwriters as Ivan Lins, Charles Aznavour, Thelonius Monk, Claude Nougaro, Abbey Lincoln, and Thomas A. Dorsey �" whose “I’m Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song” kicks off the session and inspired the CD’s title. “Live the Life” highlights the purity of Ilona’s voice, emphasizes her eclectic stylistic abilities and pairs her with a world panoply of supporting players. The result is a lush, atmospheric collection that, in Ilona’s own words, “is a tribute to my unconditional love of music.” Born in France and raised in a musical family (her mother was a singer, her father a pianist and her mother’s accompanist), Ilona had traveled the world by the time she was in pre-school. That early exposure to the world’s cultures finds its expression on “Live the Life,” on which Ilona sings in both English and French (she’s equally fluent in both) and which was recorded in both Paris and New York. Adding to the CD’s global spirit is the cast of international musicians, recruited by producers Jay Ashby and Al Pryor to add the right flavor to each different track. Among the more than 30 musical artists who contributed their talents to “Live the Life” are Alain Mallet on piano, James Genus and Rufus Reed on bass, Marty Ashby on guitar, Paquito D’Rivera on clarinet, and Mack Avenue label-mate Sean Jones on trumpet, as well as a string section and an oud player (on different tracks, of course). Ilona says that the songs on “Life the Life” were chosen to “paint a picture of myself that will let people know who I am. Each song represents a character trait, or a specific time in my life, or someone in particular.” Thomas A. Dorsey’s “I’m Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song,” the CD’s first track, opens with Ilona’s vocal solo, unaccompanied and radiant, and then bursts into full bloom with a lush arrangement that features Alain Mallet on piano, Rufus Reid on bass, Marty Ashby on guitar, Jamey Haddad on drums, and Antonio Hart �" who offers up a burning solo midway through the tune �" on alto sax.

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Album Review

Ilona Knopfler: Live The Life

Read "Live The Life" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Beaucoup plaisir awaits on this English and French jazz vocal new release. Ilona Knopfler, born in Paris but a pre-school world traveler, made her stage debut at the age of fifteen in Hong Kong and later became the house favorite at the Jazz Club in Hong Kong. Moving to New York, Knopfler studied for five years at the Lee Strasberg Institute. This album was recorded in both New York and Paris.

Live The Life begins with the unlikely ...

Album Review

Ilona Knopfler: Some Kind Of Wonderful

Read "Some Kind Of Wonderful" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Ilona Knopfler, who comes from France via Hong Kong with a soulful, belting voice, is being billed as a “jazz singer.” This album doesn’t permit her to confirm that statement. I would say instead that she has taken non-traditional jazz tunes and sung them tastefully, in a classic traditional pop style with jazz inflections, reminiscent of the best of Jack Jones or Marilyn Maye.

For starters, there is a strong cover of Grand Funk’s "Some Kind Of Wonderful" that showcases ...

Album Review

Ilona Knopfler: Some Kind of Wonderful

Read "Some Kind of Wonderful" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Parisienne Ilona Knopfler breezes through an eclectic collection of contemporary classics with a jazz flair. The music is vintage mid-‘60s to mid-‘70s AM radio fare. Ms. Knopfler’s band delivers a "Some Kind of Wonderful" with a Funk Brothers precision and a Tower of Power horn section sensibility. Rod Argent’s "It’s the time of the Season" and "He’s Not There" featuring pianist Eugene Maslov are sprite in tier renditions. Neil Sedaka’s "Breaking Up is Hard To Do" is tastefully performed, Ms. ...

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Live The Life

Mack Avenue Records


Some Kind of Wonderful

Mack Avenue Records



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