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Bob Baldwin – MelloWonder: Songs in the Key of Stevie

June 19,2015

With the robust energy and cool enthusiasm that has become the trademark of pianist/keyboardist/composer/producer Bob Baldwin’s tributes to the icons of our time, he has again worked his magic on a tribute to the great Stevie Wonder with a project called MelloWonder: Songs in the Key of Stevie.

Calling on the superb talents of top-tier artists such as Marion Meadows, U-Nam, Chieli Minucci, and Ragan Whiteside, Baldwin makes it a most enjoyable experience to reenter the world of Wonder through the imaginative colorings of the Baldwin touch. From groovesters like “The Real Thing” to the slick “Creepin’” to his funky rendition of the classic ”Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” to cool and snappy “That Girl” and on and on for 14 of some of the most polished and delightful tracks befitting such a solid nod to the Wonder of music.

Adding his own soulful, lilting piano and keys flavoring to the pieces, it is clear that Baldwin meant to tap into that part of the listener’s heart and soul that is reserved for the likes of Wonder, and in my opinion, he was more than successful, making sure he captured the very essence of the R&B/soul genius with all of the careful and meticulous intent so majestically displayed on the original tracks.

As Baldwin himself has stated, “There is only and will only be one Stevie Wonder, the perfect blend between ‘genius’ and ‘humanitarian’.” So true, but one must tip his/her hat to Baldwin’s magnificent effort to strut Wonder’s stuff in such a superior fashion as to undoubtedly make Wonder beam with pride. A Class A effort and remarkable tribute indeed. – Ronald Jackson