The legendary Stevie Wonder turns 61 today and he continues to be the Sunshine In Our Lives with his musical mastery and keen ear for a hook. Like other massively talented pop musicians (Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel and Lady Gaga just to name a few) he is Overjoyed by his love for classical music. He’s a Part-Time Lover of Stravinsky, Bach and Beethoven. Can you dig it!? Send One Your Love!
Perhaps it was from those soulful composers that the Master Blaster drew inspiration and Ribbons In The Sky for his own “classical” composition, Sketches of a Life, which he began writing in 1976 at the peak of his pop-songwriting powers. The work was finally Signed, Sealed and Premiered in 2009 when he accepted the Library of Congress’s second Gershwin Prize in Washington (Paul Simon was the prize’s first recipient in 2007). The instrumentation made up of a 21-piece chamber ensemble, with Stevie alternating between the Ebony & Ivory of the piano, electric keyboard, and his trusty harmonica, he tells the story of his life in nine movements. Among classical influences, you’ll also hear some blues, jazz, and pop. One critic describes it as “chamber funk” and I dig that. Do I Do.
These Three Words.