Philadelphia

Full of Wonder

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    4
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On this CD, the group Philadelphia aimed to perform the music of Stevie Wonder (ten songs including Wonder's only jazz standard, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life,") in a jazz setting. But rather than remove Wonder's music from its R&B roots, arranger Demetrios Pappas used a funky rhythm section and soulful soloists; the results (rather than being new and different) are merely derivative. There are some good spots provided by the main horns (trumpeter Stan Slotter, Michael Pedicin Jr on tenor, and soprano-saxophonist Ken Gioffre) but the background vocalists who pop up on a few tracks greatly lower the jazz content, and the rhythm section sounds like anonymous studio players. A sense of adventure is missing from this pleasant and overly melodic outing.

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