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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. Knopfler’s curvy voice embracing the words with the grief of lost love. She injects the nightclub blues into Harry Nilsson’s cum Three Dog Night’s "One," the first cover of this song this writer has heard. Pat Kelley spares no experience in his guitar solo on the piece.
"Something" is taken pretty straight and thus comes off as a bit pedestrian. By contrast, Van Morrison’s "Moondance" is superb, perfectly suited for Ms. Knopfler’s elastic inflections. A pair of Joe Cocker staples holds up the center. "Unchain My Heart" is provided with a Bossa personality and "Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood" has an Earth, Wind and Fire character. The disc closes with the Marshall Tucker Band’s "Can’t You See," which may be the biggest surprise of the recording and comes off surprisingly well.
Some Kind of Wonderful is a courageous journey through the heart of pop music that works more often than not. It is certainly a fine recorded effort for a genre trying to expand its standards library.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.