"One of the many joys of 'I Sing Stevie' is hearing Camille giving fresh interpretations to a variety of mostly lesser-known Stevie Wonder songs. Her love for the music is obvious, as is her talented singing. One suspects that Stevie Wonder would love this CD."
READ THE REVIEW from famed jazz journalist Scott Yanow (All-Music Guide, Downbeat):
Camille is a powerful and bluesy vocalist who has always loved the music of Stevie Wonder. A professional singer in New York since the age of 11, Camille worked with Eumir Deodato in the 1980s, appearing on his hit recordings of “S.O.S., Fire In The Sky” and “Are You For Real.” As a versatile studio singer, among her many other recordings are K’7’s hip hop hit “Come Baby Come” and an album of jazz standards.
I Sing Stevie has Camille joined by a crew of top musicians including keyboardist Mitchel Forman, pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist-singer Will Lee, and drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez. The instrumentation and personnel change during each piece and there is plenty of variation in moods and grooves. Camille often overdubs her voice to create a choir of background singers behind her own lead vocal.
The first two pieces, a rollicking “Power Flower” and “As,” have a late ‘60s vibe with lots of improvising by the rhythm section anda joyful looseness. Camille’s powerful voice is particularly ideal on “As,” sailing over a salsa groove played by happily crowded ensembles that include three horns and four background singers (not counting Camille).
“The Secret Life Of Plants” features Camille singing a vocal duet with Will Lee in a fairly sparse setting. “Free” is given a Latin rockish groove that is quite infectious. In contrast, a soulful and gospellish treatment of “They Won’t Go When I Go” has Camille’s voices accompanied just by pianist Al Quinn for a very effective remake. Camille’s high-powered singing on “Bird Of Beauty” (where she is joined by an acoustic rhythm section with guitarist Pete Sawchuk) is haunting. Even more intimate is “Visions,” a ballad with acoustic guitar and bass that puts the spotlight on Camille’s passionate ballad singing.
Other than a brief remix of “Free” and a humorous “Outtake,” I Sing Stevie concludes with the Latin groove of “Ngiculela – Es Una Historia – I Am Singing” (which features fine tenor sax from Bobby Franceschini) and a combination of Camille’s “Can You See Her” and Wonder’s “Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer.” One could certainly imagine the latter performance being in a successful Broadway musical.
One of the many joys of I Sing Stevie is hearing Camille giving fresh interpretations to a variety of mostly lesser-known Stevie Wonder songs. Her love for the music is obvious, as is her talented singing. One suspects that Stevie Wonder would love this CD.
-Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Jazz Singers
"Camille does an outstanding job at 'Singing Stevie' and delivers a wonderful rendition with her selected songs from this master of music."
READ THE REVIEW from Bass Musician Magazine:
Stevie Wonder is a living legend of music. His music is known and loved worldwide and he has performed it flawlessly to a level that sets the bar very high. That said, taking on the task of doing an album performing his work, is a challenge of gigantic proportions! Vocalist Camille has really stepped up to the plate to engage this incredible project.
Such an endeavor requires an extraordinary team to make it all happen. This album was co-produced by Rick Suchow (who also brought his arranging and bass playing skills to the table) and Tommy Uzzo. There is a stellar lineup of supporting musicians including bassist Will Lee, who both holds down the bass line and sings the duet in, “Secret Life Of Plants”.
Camille has serious vocal skills and a wealth of experience that makes her the perfect performer to attempt this musical ‘Mount Everest’. Her selections of songs are perfectly fitted to her soulful vocal quality and range. Some of the tracks are Stevie’s lesser-known pieces, and this makes discovering them in Camille’s own special interpretation, all the more exciting.
Lets take a closer look at some of the tracks…
The opening track, “Power Flower” comes out swinging with a total Stevie-feel, including piano and harmonica riffs. I get the feeling that this one is for Stevie himself and we are fortunate to be here to hear it. The arrangement is tight and full and allows us to get an idea of what is in store on the rest of the CD. Solid bass work drives this piece right home!
“As” is an energized, ‘Latinized’ version of Stevie’s 1976 release from, Songs in the Key of Life. You can only have this kind of driving Latin music with a powerful drum foundation, and it is Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez who is the nuclear reactor propelling this piece. This track is right up my alley with a great salsa beat that will get you right up on your feet to dance along. Lots of sweet syncopated percussion, horn riffs and piano work are complimented by a deep bass growl. The background vocals in Spanish are a nice touch to put a fine polish on this tune.
“The Secret Life of Plants” (by the 1979 album of the same title), is a majestic piece of work. The key changes alone are iconic of Stevie’s intrinsic grasp and understanding of music. This track paints a complex musical picture for the listener that transports you to a beautiful, green living place. The dramatic bass work and vocal support that Will Lee brings to this piece is simply perfect.
“They Won’t Go When I Go” is a dramatic, somber piece that gives us a chance to appreciate Camille’s voice with a lone piano. This track is the combination of a classical sounding piece, blended with a gospel-vocal overlay and deep, dark lyrics. (Note: The inspiration for this song is said to have come as a consequence of Stevie’s 1973 car accident.)
“Bird of Beauty” is a lovely Brazilian piece that Stevie released in 1974, with Portuguese lyrics by Sergio Mendez. Camille’s version is more upbeat and has some excellent guitar work that adorns it. The feel is bright and festive and the arrangement is superb.
“Visions” is from the 1973 album, Innervisions. Camille’s vocal performance on this cut is flawless and is the perfect opportunity for Rick to cut loose with a sweet bass solo. Nicely done man!
All in all, Camille does an outstanding job at ‘Singing Stevie’ and delivers a wonderful rendition with her selected songs from this master of music.
If you enjoy Stevie Wonder, you need to hear this CD, as it is definitely a special treat!
I Sing Stevie: The Stevie Wonder Songbook will be available at Amazon and iTunes after it’s release date on October 7, 2014.
- Raul Amador, Bass Musician Magazine
"Dynamic vocalist and studio veteran Camille re-imagines the deeper cuts on I Sing Stevie."
READ THE REVIEW from SmoothJazz.com:
Diving deep into the catalog of celebrated, musical icon Stevie Wonder, dynamic vocalist and studio veteran, Camille, re-imagines the deeper cuts on I Sing Stevie: The Stevie Wonder Songbook. Camille’s passionate voice is surrounded by a stellar line-up of world-class musicians including Will Lee, Mitchel Forman, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Bobby Franceshini, and Marc Quinones. Released on her own Camilleon Records label, I Sing Stevie ventures from Latin Jazz to R&B ballads to Flamenco-flavored grooves.
Crossing genres is not unfamiliar to the accomplished singer, she was a featured vocalist for Grammy-winning Brazilian producer Deodato, which landed her on the Billboard charts twice back in the early days of her career. An all terrain exploration of the artist that this artist adores, as Camille’s liner notes dedicate, "To Stevland Morris!! Beautiful, blessed, gift sent from God above."