For her latest album, Nnenna Freelon has set aside what she calls the music of her parents to pay tribute to one of the most talented artists of her day, Stevie Wonder. For me, this album is a curious homage. Instead of capturing the joy of Wonder's music, Freelon sings as if she were worshiping at a temple erected to honor of the composer. The arrangements are heavy, spiritual and muddy, lacking any crispness. Some of her interpretations of Wonder's works are unique to say the least. "The Tears of a Clown" has a spiritual tinge to it with Freelon's vocals rising above, slightly dissonant, a seemingly disorganized arrangement with Jason Crosby's violin leading the way along with a truck load of electronically created instrumentation. The same is true of "My Cherie Amour", with the guitar of Chuck Loeb being the major non electronically created back up. Freelon is an incredibly gifted singer and Wonder...well Wonder is Wonder. One would think this should have been a musical marriage made in heaven. But it just didn't work out that way to my ears. When one hears Wonder made music, one expects one's toes to tap, shoulders to move and hips to sway or heart strings to be tugged. With the exception of "Bird of Beauty", instead of swaying and tapping, there's a lot of plodding going on.
Freelon's web page is at http://www.freelon.com/nnenna.
Get It All; These Are Soulful DaysOverjoyed; Creepin
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.