Ilona Knopfler

Some Kind of Wonderful

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The global influence of classic American pop songs is very apparent on Some Kind of Wonderful, Ilona Knopfler's impressive and multifaceted debut, which finds the Parisian-born singer (who spent some of her formative years in Hong Kong) tackling '60s and '70s favorites in a variety of styles. She shows her aggressive, bluesy Bonnie Raitt-flavored wares on the brass-funk driven twist through Grand Funk's "Some Kind of Wonderful" (featuring a feisty electric guitar solo by Pat Kelley), then goes jazz-trio cool on the Zombies' "It's the Time of the Season," revealing a different dimension of the tune (with the help of Eugene Maslov's piano). This kind of balance between pop/rock and different jazz forms carries throughout, and it's clear that Knopfler is most comfortable on the mid-tempo ballads, delivered with panache with jazz inflections. Although the grooves are organic and provide the most fun, Knopfler's deeper vocal artistry comes alive on gentle acoustic interpretations of "Alfie" and "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do."

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