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CD Review – I Sing Stevie, Co-Produced by Rick Suchow

CD Review - I Sing Stevie, Co-Produced by Rick Suchow

BMM Associate Editor Rick Suchow Co-Produces I Sing Stevie, The Stevie Wonder Songbook by Camille

Stevie Wonder is a living legend of music. His music is known and loved worldwide and he has performed it flawlessly to a level that sets the bar very high. That said, taking on the task of doing an album performing his work, is a challenge of gigantic proportions! Vocalist Camille has really stepped up to the plate to engage this incredible project.

Such an endeavor requires an extraordinary team to make it all happen. This album was co-produced by Rick Suchow (who also brought his arranging and bass playing skills to the table) and Tommy Uzzo. There is a stellar lineup of supporting musicians including bassist Will Lee, who both holds down the bass line and sings the duet in, “Secret Life Of Plants”.

Camille has serious vocal skills and a wealth of experience that makes her the perfect performer to attempt this musical ‘Mount Everest’. Her selections of songs are perfectly fitted to her soulful vocal quality and range. Some of the tracks are Stevie’s lesser-known pieces, and this makes discovering them in Camille’s own special interpretation, all the more exciting.

Lets take a closer look at some of the tracks…

The opening track, “Power Flower” comes out swinging with a total Stevie-feel, including piano and harmonica riffs. I get the feeling that this one is for Stevie himself and we are fortunate to be here to hear it.  The arrangement is tight and full and allows us to get an idea of what is in store on the rest of the CD. Solid bass work drives this piece right home!

As” is an energized, ‘Latinized’ version of Stevie’s 1976 release from, “Songs in the Key of Life”.  You can only have this kind of driving Latin music with a powerful drum foundation, and it is Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez who is the nuclear reactor propelling this piece. This track is right up my alley with a great salsa beat that will get you right up on your feet to dance along. Lots of sweet syncopated percussion, horn riffs and piano work are complimented by a deep bass growl. The background vocals in Spanish are a nice touch to put a fine polish on this tune.

The Secret Life of Plants” (by the 1979 album of the same title), is a majestic piece of work. The key changes alone are iconic of Stevie’s intrinsic grasp and understanding of music. This track paints a complex musical picture for the listener that transports you to a beautiful, green living place. The dramatic bass work and vocal support that Will Lee brings to this piece is simply perfect.

They Won’t Go When I Go” is a dramatic, somber piece that gives us a chance to appreciate Camille’s voice with a lone piano. This track is the combination of a classical sounding piece, blended with a gospel-vocal overlay and deep, dark lyrics. (Note: The inspiration for this song is said to have come as a consequence of Stevie’s 1973 car accident.)

Bird of Beauty” is a lovely Brazilian piece that Stevie released in 1974, with Portuguese lyrics by Sergio Mendez. Camille’s version is more upbeat and has some excellent guitar work that adorns it. The feel is bright and festive and the arrangement is superb.

Visions” is from the 1973 album, “Innversions”.  Camille’s vocal performance on this cut is flawless and is the perfect opportunity for Rick to cut loose with a sweet bass solo. Nicely done man!

All in all, Camille does an outstanding job at ‘Singing Stevie’ and delivers a wonderful rendition with her selected songs from this master of music.

If you enjoy Stevie Wonder, you need to hear this CD, as it is definitely a special treat!

I Sing Stevie, The Stevie Wonder Songbook will be available at Amazon and iTunes after it’s release date on October 7, 2014.

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