It should come as no surprise that the music of Stevie Wonder is often recorded by jazz musicians, especially considering the fact that Wonder confessed his love of jazz in his hit Duke Ellington tribute, "Sir Duke." That song and seven others from Wonder's bottomless repertoire are interpreted by Stanley Turrentine and a restrained group of musicians led by keyboardist Ronnie Foster, who also arranged and produced. The best results occur when Foster and Turrentine cut loose, taking liberties with familiar hits like "Boogie on Reggae Woman," which features Wonder on harmonica. Other times, Turrentine succumbs to routine tributes which are pleasant but unexceptional, especially since several jazz artists have also covered some of the same selections (i.e., "Living for the City" and "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing"). The most original choice is the opening track, "Bird of Beauty," which benefits from its relative obscurity. Listeners seeking Turrentine's warm, full tone on makeout ballads will find only two: the moody "Creepin" and the spare beauty of "You and I." Otherwise, overly familiar songs are given conservative treatments much of the time. There's too much talent assembled on Wonderland for any of these proven compositions to fail, which suggests Turrentine and Foster might have considered taking more risks.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Vince Ripol