There’s only a handful of musicians that can be called “living legends.” Stevie Wonder is undeniably one of them. There no shortage of covers or tributes to this still vital musician. Here are a couple of jazzy tributes that have been released recently.
Vibraphonist Bill Ware, whose Groove Thing CD This Is No Time… is a favorite of mine, offers Wonder Full with his enhanced trio, Vibes. Half of the ten selections were recorded live, and the other half are from a studio date. This isn’t a Stevie Wonder greatest hits covers recording. Check out what Ware chose (Amazon, iTunes).
Guitarist Vernon Neilly has gathered some friends for A Tribute to Stevie Wonder. Among them: Greg Howe, U-Nam, and Michael Paulo (where have you been, Mr. Paulo?). It should be interesting. The product description indicates that this is a “multi-genre project that has progressive, jazz fusion, smooth jazz, heavy metal, and R&B singles on it.” Hear for yourself at Vernon’s site, his MySpace page, or at Amazon.
Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, and Nancy Wilson were among the musicians who paid tribute to the late Oscar Peterson on January 12 at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall. The event, titled “Oscar Peterson: Simply the Best” saw 2500 fans offering a final farewell to the legendary pianist. He died on December 23, at the age of 82, of kidney failure. Several good recaps of the emotional goodbye were written by J.D. Considine, John Stewart (for the Mississauga News), and Scott Anderson (for Reuters). An archive is available at the CBC site. Share your thoughts on Oscar Peterson in The Forum.
David Benoit counts Oscar Peterson as one of his influences. The contemporary jazz pianist is recording an album of compositions from his favorite artists, including Peterson, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, the Doors, the Beatles, and Elton John. It’s titled Heroes and will be out this year.
Also on the topic of tributes: John Beasley has been working on a tribute to Herbie Hancock. He’s joined by Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride and Jeff “Tain” Watts. The recording, expected in March, is the one of the first on a new label called Resonance Records. According to the press release, Resonance Records artists “benefit from an innovative revenue-sharing concept that not only offers greater economic return, but also allows them to produce their music without the typical studio time restrictions and their related expenses.”