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Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Jul 7th, 2021

Wise John: A Wonderful World

Wise John
A Wonderful World
(Wise John)

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A tentative jazzy piano floats behind the delicate voice of Wise John as he opens his album, A Wonderful World with “Won’t Somebody Let This Caged Bird Fly?” Although he sets us up for another solo piano vocal paean all too soon on the second tune, “Leaving LA” is undercut (in a good way) by a raucous bunch of backing instruments for a positively Nilsson-ian wonderfully wacky tune!

Things get even crazier with John firmly planting his tongue-in-cheek style (with the help of backing vocalists Justin Nichols, Dani Silva, and Adela Pfaff) on the 50’s pop-jazz send-up, “Let Me Dance.”

The title track coming about halfway here sees John once again fronting only his piano, as he talks/sings through his imagining of a wonderful world.

I like Alex Strahl’s spikey guitar smacks and Shaun Valentine’s percussion and drumming slaps on the jumpy “Pretending to Sleep” (John sure knows how to mix a ballad and a rocker). And he ends A Wonderful World with a sweetly effected guitar layered with his piano (and some f-bombs) on the simply sway-able “Me & My Piano,” and then Micaela Ines’s Rhodes and some atmospheric keys getting “Borderline” up and running as the last tune.

I also don’t want to forget bassist Noah Sierota, like all the other musicians playing here with Wise John, offering subtle yet effective playing across the excellent A Wonderful World.

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Wise John: A Wonderful World