Wise John Moves Mountains on “A Wonderful World” Album
If you’ve not heard of Wise John before, are completely unfamiliar with his music, and don’t know quite what to expect from someone whose moniker is so prone to sapience, go ahead, throw on his latest Long Player A Wonderful World, and do yourself a huge favor… go straight to that good ol’ number four, the absolutely ineffable “Let Me Dance”.
Forsooth, I made it about halfway through this number before convincing myself I had to get a copy of this one. See how long you can go. But just peep how he flips his style on this track, coming with a voice full of not quite sarcasm, but loaded with some sentiment well accustomed to Old Blue Eyes in tunes like “Mack The Knife”.
He’s got the walking bass line parading up and down the track, which itself is heavily infused with that omnipresent piano (a thematic device on most of the album). Plus there’s the babes in the back echoing him, throwing in a few sumptuous sounds sans words at will, and creating quite a ruckus to spill drinks to, hit the dance floor, and make it happen in a three-piece as though this really were the Roaring 20’s, or even the Dirty 30’s and war ravaged 40’s of the previous century.
However, John’s range isn’t quite limited to 20th century jazz numbers (which wouldn’t be a limitation at all), or circumscribed one bit. He renders a moving ballad almost a capella, were it not for the aforesaid piano that kicks in instantaneously on the project opener, “Won’t Somebody Let This Caged Bird Fly?”
Give him kudos for lyrics too, as he notes that even a cage that looks akin to the sky is still a cage. This one is perfect for the after hours in a half emptied bar littered with all sorts of Norms from Cheers or somewhere else. There’s also some straight ahead rock numbers (still encapsulating his piano) like “Always Be The King” or “Leaving L.A.”.
But if, perhaps, you happen to get stuck on “Dance”, I won’t blame you at all.