Most Wanted! Stevie Wonder – Do I Do (Motown)
Which artist’s repertoire would you come to choose if condamned to spend the rest of your life in a desert island? (*)
I suppose I would choose Stevie Wonder‘s. Because of the sense of his lyrics. Because of the melody of his songs. And, last but not least because of the versatility of his themes.
Taken from the ‘Original Musiquarium vol. 1’, a compilation which he released back in 1982, the groovy ‘Do I Do’ happens to show some extra facet of him. As a rapper, be it briefly. But also as a brilliant master of ceremony, jamming along with famous Jazz trumpet player Dizzie Gillespie.
10 minutes + of pure pleasure…
(*) By the way, we would be very glad hearing of you regarding this question…
Quite a child prodigy, Stevie Wonder had mastered harmonica, keyboards and drums by the age of 10. He would sign to Motown the year after with the help of a neighbour – Johnnie Glover – whose cousin was Ronnie White of The Miracles.
1962 saw the release of ‘I Call It Pretty Music’ which marked his debut as Little Stevie Wonder, with a certain Marvin Gaye on drums. International recognition would come 4 years later though with ‘Uptight’ co-written with singer / songwriter and producer Sylvia Rose Moy. Another standout track from their collab being ‘My Cherie Amour’ from the 1969 album of the likes…
By 1971, Wonder signed a new deal with Motown allowing him to have more artistic freedom on his recordings. He soon after released ‘Where I’m coming From’ which established him on the rock scene. And also led him to be the opening act for The Rolling Stones tour with Bohannon and Ray Parker, Jr. among his back up musicians.
It’s most likely during this period that Wonder started to become fascinated by the Moog synthesizer. Something one could firmly feel on the memorable ‘Superstition’ or ‘Living For The City’ for instance. The albums ‘Talking Book’ (1972), ‘Innervisions’ (1973) and ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’ (his biggest success ever) standing as absolute manifestos.
Wonder opened the 80’s in the same vein with ‘Hotter Than July’. An album which contributed to add extra classics to an already impressive collection with tracks such as ‘All I Do’ or ‘I Ain’t Gonna Stand For It’. But also ‘Master Blaster’. Not to mention ‘Happy Birthday’, a campaign song for Dr Martin Luther King‘s birthday (Jan. 15) into an American national holiday.
Extra hits would follow on his double album, ‘Original Musiquarium’ in 1982. An album that saw him jamming along with Jazz trumpeter Dizzie Gillespie, on ‘Do I Do’. And during the following years with ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ and ‘Don’t Drive Drunk’ from the ‘Women In Red’ album. Not to mention ‘Part Time Lover’ (from ‘In Square Circle’ in 1985).
Other jams of his worth the listen including ‘Make Sure You’re Sure’ from the ‘Jungle Fever’ OST. Then ‘What The Fuss’ from ‘A Time 2 Love’, his last studio album released back in 2005.
As writer or producer, Wonder has been working with countless artists from Whitney Houston, to Dionne Warwick. But also Jermaine Jackson, Third World and Gary Byrd among others.
He’s also been duetting with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, and jamming also along with Chaka Khan and Eurythmics with his harmonica.
– Born in Cheraw, SC, Dizzie Gillespie happened to be seen seen by his contemporaries as one of the greatest Jazz trumpeters of all time. Most likely influencing artists such as Miles Davis, Arturo Sandoval and Chuck Mangione among others.
He rose to fame in the 40’s along with Charlie Parker, contributing to the development of Bebop and Modern Jazz. His unique (and complex) play from his typical bent horn and his obvious big hearted personality being for much on his growing popularity along with time.
The end of that same decade saw him embracing Afro-Cuban music, therefore teaming up with conga drummer Chano Pozo in 1947 after both of them got introduced to each other by Latin Jazz trumpeter Mario Bauza. The same Mario Bauza with whom he would jam along with in the Chick Webb and Cab Calloway‘s bands.
In 1982, Gillespie also happened to do a cameo appearence on Stevie Wonder‘s ‘Do I Do’, taken from his ‘The Original Musiquarium 1’ compilation.
Dizzie Gillespie sadly died of a pancreatic cancer in Englewood, NJ, on Jan. 06, 1993. He was 75.