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What a Wonderful World
     

What a Wonderful World

by Leif Shires
 
It isn't hard to understand why so many jazz critics have an incredibly low opinion of smooth jazz; a great deal of it has been soulless, robotic, bland and unimaginative. But not all smooth jazz is without merit. If one believes that David Sanborn, Ronnie Laws, and the late

Overview

It isn't hard to understand why so many jazz critics have an incredibly low opinion of smooth jazz; a great deal of it has been soulless, robotic, bland and unimaginative. But not all smooth jazz is without merit. If one believes that David Sanborn, Ronnie Laws, and the late Grover Washington, Jr. have been a part of smooth jazz (although their work has had just as much to do with soul-jazz), then it's easy to make the argument that some smooth jazz is worthy of praise. And parts of Miles Davis' 1985 release You're Under Arrest found the trumpet icon dabbling in smooth jazz with worthwhile results. That brings us to Leif Shires, whose What a Wonderful World has one foot in smooth jazz and the other in cool jazz. It isn't hard to figure out who his main influences are; Shires' lyrical, introspective trumpet playing owes a lot to Miles Davis, Chet Baker, and Chris Botti. What a Wonderful World is easy listening, but it's respectable easy listening rather than flat-out elevator muzak -- and Shires' playing is consistently likable whether he is getting into cool jazz (which is basically a subtle, understated approach to bop) on Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" (the song producer Orrin Keepnews called "the national anthem of jazz"), "Autumn Leaves," and the Nat King Cole-associated "Unforgettable," or favoring more of a smooth jazz outlook on Sting's "Fields of Gold," Michael Jackson's "Human Nature," and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." Davis played those Jackson and Lauper hits on You're Under Arrest, and Shires' versions were clearly inspired by Davis'; however, Shires is smart enough to improvise instead of trying to play every single note that Davis played on his interpretations back in the 1980s. There is no getting around the fact that What a Wonderful World is quite derivative, but it's tastefully derivative -- and while this early 2009 release isn't remarkable, it is still a pleasant demonstration of Shires' melodic lyricism.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/27/2009
Label:
Green Hill
UPC:
0792755559321
catalogNumber:
55593
Rank:
166191

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Leif Shires   Primary Artist,Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Jack Jezzro   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Bass,Electric Guitar
Eric Darken   Percussion
David Huntsinger   Piano,Keyboards
Jim White   Drums

Technical Credits

Henry Mancini   Composer
Jack Jezzro   Arranger,Producer
Michel Legrand   Composer
Cootie Williams   Composer
John Bettis   Composer
Luigi Creatore   Composer
Jacques Demy   Composer
Norman Gimbel   Composer
Brendan Harkin   Engineer
Jack Lawrence   Composer
Hugo Peretti   Composer
Thelonious Monk   Composer
George David Weiss   Composer
Bernie Hanighen   Composer
Eden Ahbez   Composer
Irving Gordon   Composer
Robert Thiele   Composer

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