A Wonderful World by Wise JohnRelease date: June 13, 2021
An artist called Wise John, coming up with a record called A Wonderful World, with a cover that looks like a page out of a serious adult graphic novel. Is there a joke in there somewhere?
Hard to tell, really, you’d have to ask John, who based on the album actually does seem to be wise. And no, there’s no cover of that Louis Armstrong big hit here.
But then, is the cover an indication of some sort of intricate theatrics in the grooves of this album? Now there just might lie the right clue.
You see, Wise John is one of those piano guys or men (who mentioned Billy Joel?) who like a more intricate composition with a bit of a theatrical arrangement. Forget Joel (well, maybe not completely), and think more of Harry Nilsson and another forgotten ace, David Ackles. Add there the arrangement ‘theatrics’ of Todd Rundgren, and you’ll get the picture in which direction John’s ‘wisdom’ goes here.
But, then, you can remove those single quotation marks from wisdom, because Wise John seems to know exactly what he’s doing and he very often gets quite close to the heights reached by any and all of the above artists. The title track, ‘Let Me Dance’ and particularly ‘Pretending To Sleep’ go a long way to prove the point. The latter might sound exactly like a song Rundgren produced for Nilsson, but it never saw the light of the day.
Not sure whether the world is so wonderful these days, A Wonderful World is a pleasant musical surprise practically out of nowhere.