Nothing beats the combination of a great singer with a great song—it's a slam-dunk every time.

Nothing beats the combination of a great singer with a great song—it's a slam-dunk every time. A definitive case in point is this collection of timeless tunes written or co-written by Stevie Wonder, paired with the distinctive vocals of Grammy Award-nominated jazz stylist Nnenna Freelon. Chosen specifically by the singer, each song reflects contemporary nuances that add new dimensions to various Wonder classics and lesser-known album cuts. For instance, under Freelon's refreshing stewardship (with assistance from such players as jazz veterans Chuck Loeb and Gerald Veasley), "Overjoyed" takes on a seductive, sultry vibe, while a slowed-down, flute- and violin-laden arrangement turns the Wonder/ Smokey Robinson/Henry Cosby collaboration "Tears of a Clown" on its ear. But it's Freelon's jazz-infused renditions of "Bird of Beauty," from Wonder's 1974 album Fulfillingness' First Finale, and "Another Star," from 1976's Songs in the Key of Life, that alone are worth the price of this disc.—GM

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print