Ilona Knopfler

Live the Life

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AllMusic Review by

Jazz vocalist Ilona Knopfler sings in both English and French on Live the Life. Accompanied by an international band that adds its special musical flavorings, Knopfler swings, scats, and offers her expressive interpretations of music from the pens of such great composers as Ivan Lins, Thelonious Monk, Abbey Lincoln, and Thomas Dorsey among others. Opening with a great cover of "I'm Going to Live the Life I Sing About," this song traverses three distinct styles. The intro is characterized by its a cappella harmonization behind Knopfler's motive development. It then segues into a bass and vocals duet in English that spotlights her comprehensive phrasing before a burst of French harmonization leads to an intense straight-ahead jazz solo by saxophonist Antonio Hart. On "Le Jazz et la Java," which is also sung in French, Knopfler engages in a conversation with trumpeter Sean Jones. This excellent call-and-response section represents one of the many great highlights on the CD and reinforces the universal idea that music erases many language barriers. Knopfler's vocal tones cover the mezzo-soprano to alto range, but on this highly entertaining offering, she eloquently alternates the harmonic rhythm, supportive and interactive comping, and soloist's viewpoint in two languages with seamless ease and professionalism. Highly recommended..

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