Joe Gilman


View So Tender: Wonder Revisited, Vol. 1

After the Brubeck sessions in 2003, Joe, Justin and I wanted to continue the idea of new takes on great music. Many composers came to mind, but Stevie Wonder's music was a natural choice. Beautiful melodies, adaptable harmony, flexible forms, longevity, and dozens of classics from which to choose.

We set out searching, listening, talking, writing, playing, laughing, and discovering in the Winter of 2004. We listened to almost a dozen hours of Stevie tunes. Many different approaches were discussed, including generating arrangements from rhythmic phrases, collective improvisations, reversing roles of the instruments, and many other concepts we learned from the Brubeck sessions.
Finally on June 10 and 11, 2004, we sat down for 13 hours and recorded 28 tunes, some of which you hear on this CD.

Who wouldn't want to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder? And we realized there are many Stevie tribute CDs out there. But this isn't so much a tribute album. It was never conceived that way. It is almost more like a string quartet that records all of the Beethoven repertoire. It is more of a dialog between the two genres of jazz and R&B. Between a genius of modern music and three humble
students. Delving deep into a catalog and finding ways to reassemble the music into vehicles for improvisation. Only a few of the things that are so great about the possibilities of the artform we respectfully call jazz.


View So Tender: Wonder Revisited, Vol. 1

View So Tender: Wonder Revisited,
Vol. 1 (2006)

I Wish
Don't You Worry "Bout a Thing
Smile Please
That Girl
Sir Duke
Send One Your Love
Love Light in Flight
Go Home

Purchase from Tower Records, CD Baby, or


VIEW SO TENDER on Two National Top 10 Lists

VIEW SO TENDER is the #2 most added jazz CD nationwide
for the week of July 31, 2006, behind Joe Lovano (CMJ report)!

Dick Crockett, "The Voice" 88.7FM, gives the Wonder record two 2006 Twirlie Nominations:

  • MAINSTREAM: Joe Gilman Trio, "View So Tender: Wonder Revisited" Capri Records
  • PIANO: Joe Gilman Trio, "View So Tender: Wonder Revisited" Capri Records


BopnDick Compares ROBERT GLASPER to the GILMAN Trio, April 12, 2007

......Young pianist sensation ROBERT GLASPER begins SAJS with selections from his latest, IN MY ELEMENT. "g&b" begins it with a scatological multiplex of rhythm and straight from the hip, composing...Robert, the brilliant, what's gone on, goes on.

Reflecting on Oscar Peterson's early years. No. They don't sound exact. But there's the same enthusiasm, excitement, repor with the engagement, that we've heard before and quite not with this modern euphoria.

A similar feeling when Clifford Brown came on the scene in the fifties, all that technique, power and raw bebop energy that goes with it! Wow!!! A nose opening experience. That's what Robert Glasper does, going off on this tangential journey with loyalists Vicente Archer, bass and Damion Reid, drums, in effect, "take us where you go and we will follow...

JOE GILMAN TRIO has a similar cue with excellent rhythm mates, Joe Sanders bass and Justin Brown, two young Lions to their instruments guided by piano Zen master Gilman. Wonder's tune, "I Wish" begins with Joe Sanders bowing, then a steady hard count groove as the two greyhounds sprint off to the races.

We're kinda comparing the two trios and their striking energy and pose. They're different in approach yet surprising alike in their enthusiastic pans humor, to the state of the art.

ROBERT GLASPER is back with his reharmanized reflective Chopin vision with trio on "Maiden Voyage," as it morphs into Radio Head's "Everything's In It's Right Place." It all works with profound romanticism. Glasper is young, refreshing, talented. As Oscar the great was viewed a half century ago.
JOE GILMAN'S TRIO follows up with "Blue Rondo A La Turk" from the Sunnyside CD, TIME AGAIN: BRUBECK REVISITED. Gilman displays a similar sense of urgency as Glasper, especially driven by the care free air of both young rhythm sections. Note: There are new dishes of prominent cuisines being made here. Visualize Italian sausage in a bed of steamy string pasta, clustered with olive oil and grated Parmesan.

The difference between the two is Glasper relies on original material whereas, Gilman reshapes post modern Brubeck and Stevie Wonder in his most recent releases. Which, in years to come as now, receive the appropriate recognition........

After the success of the Brubeck sessions in 2004, View So Tender : Wonder Revisited arrives as the result of a second collaboration between pianist Joe Gilman, bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown. The ensemble is without doubt a criminally accomplished band which is ring-shaped out on a core of Stevie Wonder musical bang inflections fusing contemporary jazz and R&B rhythms.

The first track of the album, "I Wish" is a groovy piece which opens with harmonious tonal phrases by Joe Sanders on the contrabass, joined by Joe Gilman's inventive piano to collide in an amazing tandem with Justin Brown on the drums.

The band grandly sets in harmonizing on the inside throughout the motions and the tracks, conceived fluently by piano, bass and drums; each contributing a stinging tempo thoroughly annotated toward ravishing piano, setting the stage for eventually a gradual exacerbation. It's terrific stuff. "That Girl" is the acute point of this delectable album.

Assessing as an unforgettable colourist, Joe Gilman's calculated fingerings are faultless, evolving in an opulence of sounds fully expressed in every inch of his creation, chiefly on "Sir Duke" or in his solo on "Smile Please".

From "I Wish" to "Go Home", drummer Justin Brown whispers his cymbals, maintaining his tom-tom signature with an intellectual sense of accordance, adjusting every space with an awe-inspiring Joe Sanders, de-emphasizing the pace with his byword string fleecing.

The musical valour and jazz compositions of View So Tender : Wonder Revisited reside on the string and drums asseverations to generate structures which float between taped euphonies and slap dialectics. This album is 18 Karats!

Tracks: Track listing: I Wish, Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing, Smile Please, That Girl, Sir Duke, Taboo, Send One Your Love, Love Light in Flight, Go Home

~ Reviewed by Dr. Ana Isabel Ordonez
sophisticated jazz treatment of infectious pop
Rating: 4 of 5

Joe Gilman is one of those many jazz artists deserving of wider recognition - a really swinging, creative pianist. I enjoyed his two album treatment of Brubeck compositions, but to be honest, I'm not that big a fan of Brubeck, whose songs (with the exception of In Your Own Sweet Way, which Gilman gives a driving solo rendition on Vol #1) always struck me as either clunky or uninteresting. This album is another matter. If you grew up in the seventies, as I did, these Wonder songs will seem so likeable and familiar that just the title will evoke the bar (or the grocery store) where you heard them last. Putting them in the context of a jazz trio might seem gimmicky, but Gilman's fantastic arrangements make them interesting without destroying the "hooks" which made them so appealing in the first place. Highlights include the shifting time signatures of Don't Worry Bout a Thing (7/4 (?) to 4/4) and the fluid solo in Send one your Love. I wouldn't rank Wonder's songs among the greats of Tin Pan Alley, but by giving them jazz respect, Gilman makes them good for serious listening.

View So Tender: Wonder Revisited Vol 1 Capri ***

Pianist Gilman succinctly sums up the attractions, opportunities and challenges (sometimes they're the same thing) of Stevie Wonder's music as "beautiful melodies, adaptable harmony, flexible forms." In this buoyantly swinging trio tribute he makes the most of them, particularly the latter two. The approach is considered, the arrangements thoughtful and enhancing, and the material drawn thoroughly into the jazz fold by a crisply together group completed by Joe Sanders (bass) and Justin Brown (drums). Much of the material is lesser known work, but even the familiar Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing is refreshed by the trio's inventive way with it. Standouts on a finely crafted album include Smile Please, Sir Duke and Send One Your Love.

~ Ray Comiskey

View So Tender: Wonder Revisited - Volume One
Joe Gilman Trio
| Capri Records (2006)

This is the same crackerjack trio that delivered two volumes of Dave Brubeck classics, artfully freshened with a new coat of musical paint. (Volume One was reviewed here in 2004.) Now, with View So Tender, the group turns its focus to Stevie Wonder, forging a uniquely creative and delightful link between R&B and jazz.

First, a word about the trio itself. Among Joe Gilman's recent accomplishments is winning the 2004 Great American Jazz Piano Competition. His bandmates were barely out of high school when they did the first Brubeck disc - and if they were terrific then, they're even better now, as the trio has even more assurance, ease and flow. Always desirable traits, they're especially crucial with rhythms as complex as these.

For example, "Sir Duke" is in 9/8 and "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" is "mostly in 7/4, with a bar of 4/4 thrown in every once in awhile for good measure." But this is not random complication: each rhythmic change or reharmonization shines a bold new light on Wonder's timeless melodies, revealing new facets and textures. "I Wish" swings like crazy, as does "Send One Your Love," a personal favorite that gets an update full of affection and respect. Other tunes will be familiar even if their titles are not, like the winsome "Smile, Please," with its gorgeous, uplifting bridge, the funky "Love Light In Flight," and the pulsing "Go Home." I'd never heard the beautiful "Taboo," but then the rumor's always been that Wonder has a huge catalog of unreleased tunes.

Since Volume One of this series contains only nine of the 28 tracks the trio recorded in 2004, we probably have more classy and satisfying recordings to look forward to. In the meantime, this is an exciting start, and a must-hear release for fans of both Wonder and jazz.

~ Dr. Judith Schlesinger

Four-Star Review from Audiophile Audition

The Joe Gilman Trio - "View So Tender: Wonder Revisited, Vol. 1" - (Gilman, piano; Joe Sanders, bass; Justin Brown, drums) - Capri Records 74076-2, 1 hour ****:

Another great theme for a jazz album! Some Stevie Wonder tunes have been picked up by jazz performers but this may be the first entire album of them - nine tracks! And it looks like a second volume is in the offing. Gilman's trio recorded an album of all Dave Brubeck tunes a few years ago, so this was not an off-the-wall idea for them. Lennon & McCartney tunes are being heard more and more in the jazz world as musicians realize how musically original and effective they are, and Stevie Wonder's joyful songs are often in the same class. This seems to be a good time to bring them into the jazz genre since much jazz is being infused with elements of soul and funk.

Dr. Gilman has a master's in jazz and contemporary media from the Eastman School of Music and a doctorate in education from the University of Sarasota. He has performed with Eddie Harris, Bobby Hutcherson, George Duke, Chris Botti and Slide Hampton. He received the Brubeck Institute's first Brubeck Scholar Award and his rhythm section are both Brubeck Institute students. The inclusion of Wonder's "Sir Duke" shows he is no stranger to the world of jazz. I think my favorite track was the trio's treatment of Wonder's Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing."

Tracks: I Wish, Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing, Smile Please, That Girl, Sir Duke, Taboo, Send One Your Love, Love Light in Flight, Go Home.

- John Henry

Click here to read the review on Audiophile Audition's website.

The Joe Gilman Trio - VIEW SO TENDER

Mr. Gilman's jazzified tribute to Stevie Wonder's fantastic music is well received by these ears, to be sure... a rousing intro with "I Wish", with stride lines (both Joe's keyboards & Joe Sanders' bass) galore & superbly crafted rhythms by Justin Brown, will wake you right up & put you right on top of the world! Yes, these ARE tunes you've heard before, but this trio brings new (jazz) life to them, with both skill & a clear sense of love for the music. "Sir Duke" is my favorite track on the album, showing their versatility & cohesiveness as a unit... nothing "stodgy", pure soul to transport you to the same realms the original(s) did... as I sat here listening, I couldn't believe how sweet life can be, & it was th' moods they were creating with their interpretations of Wonder's wondrous music(s) that made it happen. This one gets a clearly deserved HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from my ears, & I know you jazz fans will want (even need) this fine lil' CD in your collection. Get more information at

- Rotcod Zzaj

Jazz Week Review


JOE GILMAN and TRIO with Joe Sanders bass and Justin Brown drums begin SAJS with two new one's, his slant on Stevie Wonder. This Cd , VIEW SO TENDER: WONDER REVISITED is one of the hottest of a milieu of new releases.

I recall Detroit radio in the sixties, when young Jim Hampton at WXYZ and Jim Jefferies on "KEENER 13" aired romps of Little Stevie Wonders first hit, "Fingertips, part 2." Marvin Gaye, another Motown protege played percussion on that :45 record. It was a live gig and Wonder played harmonica, along with singing. It was a gospel/R&B fracase. Of course, Wonders career has progressed with a series a fine writings and performances, some of which are covered here extremely well with the Gilman taste and verve.

Definitely. Stevie Wonder has to be pleased with this endeavor

We played "I Wish" and "That Girl," as both most certainly will get additional air play for this fine jazz musician and professor of music just down the road from the studio, American River College and The Brubeck Institute at University Of The Pacific in Stockton, where Gilman discovered these two very talented side men, Joe Sanders, bass and Justin Brown, drums.

The Gilman Trio captures the 'smile,' 'spark' and reaffirmation in Wonder's music with very new and interesting twists. This'll play well in concert. Not since Thigpen and Brown joined Oscar Peterson in that "Live' gig in Chicago" album on Verve in the sixties has there been as the electricity conveyed here with Gilman, Sanders and Brown.

Capri Records

This trio is back. For each has their own treasure and destiny and this Stevie Wonder is a way to get back and corrugate.

I remember Little Stevie Wonder on Detroit radio with his first hit as a kid from Flint, to this dissection of his music by the young masters of this art.

Remember, Joe Gilman teaches 16 century music theory down the road from me, and these two young talents, Joe Sanders, bass and Justin Brown, drums. It's understandable for Paul Chambers was just out of Cass Tech high school and Tony Williams appeared at seventeen with Miles in Berlin.

One thing you'll know about Gilman is he has a different slant, taking it form one genre to another with the ease of a master craftsman.

And you'll hear it here. Tunes you know, performed in a very different manner, providing a different perspective of what these songs engender.

Steve Wonder and The Joe Gilman Trio?
This is early Bill Evans, Scott La Faro, Paul Motian magic!

PS: God bless Frank Isola, another Detroiter and drummer who worked with Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan who I met briefly outside Verne's bierstube on Woodward avenue in 1960. These Detroit musicians have a special cruise control in hard bop heaven.
So does Joe Gilman for his understanding how to turn pop into bop. It's been done before and not quite like this...

Joe Gilman - View So Tender: Wonder Revisited 4/5

O's Notes: Pianist Joe Gilman leads a trio with Joe Sanders on bass and drummer Justin Brown. They take nine of Stevie Wonder's hits and jazz them up quite a bit. The opener "I Wish" features Joe cooking up a storm. We are classifying it as contemporary R&B jazz but the application is straight ahead. It is sure to touch fans on both sides as it is well executed.

D. Oscar Groomes
O's Place Jazz Newsletter
P.O. Box 2437
Naperville, IL 60567-2437

View So Tender: Wonder Revisited Volume One
Reviewed: Michael Gladstone
All About Jazz

Jazz tributes to the music of Stevie Wonder are not really a new concept. His songs have served as the inspiration for vocalists as recently as Nnenna Freelon's 2002 album on Concord, Tales of Wonder, and he's been particularly a keen subject for sax men like Stanley Turrentine and Dave Pietro. However, to the best of my knowlege, this is the first album of piano trio interpretations of Stevie Wonder's music.

Dr. Joe Gilman is a full-time professor at American River College. With degrees in piano and jazz studies, contemporary media and education, the Sacremento-based musician/educator examined the music of Dave Brubeck on the two-volume Time Again: Brubeck Revisted series (Sunnyside, 2003 & 2005), which was well-received. He now approaches the Wonder oeuvre for the first time. As in the case of the Brubeck albums, Gilman does not limit himself to only the best-known works of the artist. In other words, listeners expecting a "greatest hits" approach will likely be disappointed. In fact, the last four tracks of this album consist of lesser-known Stevie Wonder pieces that only diehard fans will recognize.

One of the curiosities of this album is the omission of any tunes from last year's Motown record, A Time To Love, Wonder's first studio release in ten years. That album represented an ambitious work of fifteen new songs that evoked memories of Wonder's work from the '70s and '80s. The answer lies in the fact that Gilman recorded twenty Stevie Wonder tunes in 2004, prior to the availability of any of those new compositions.

The album begins with an intriuging arco statement by bassist Joe Sanders before Gilman picks up the familiar melody ine of "I Wish." Likewise, on "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing," which has evolved into a jazz standard over the course of several decades, the trio swings. Both "That Girl" and "Sir Duke" are known for their hooks and rhythmic pulse. The trio doesn't lose any of those things, taking both at an uptempo pace. Sanders and especially drummer Justin Brown spur Gilman on during the course of the album.

Insofar as the more obscure pieces are concerned, lack of any prior familiarity with the original Motown recordings doesn't prevent enjoyment of melodies attractively played. In that category are such songs as "Love Light in Flight," from the film score of Woman In Red (1984), "Send One Your Love," from the failed Wonder album Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants (1979), "Smile Please," from Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974) and "Go Home," taken from In Square Circle (1985). The composition "Taboo" was recorded by Wonder as "Taboo (To Love)" on his famed Songs In The Key Of Life (1976).
If Gilman and company have another nineteen tracks of Wonder waiting, can the next two volumes in this series be that far behind?

January/February 2009 JazzTimes
Joe Gilman Trio
View So Tender: Wonder Revisited, Volume One
Capri Records
By Thomas Conrad

As time marches inexorably on, there are fewer people who think "Stella By Starlight" is a standard, and more for whom standards are songs by, say, Stevie Wonder. Jazz musicians, even young ones, have been slow to pick up on this demographic reality. Not pianist Joe Gilman. He has now recorded two volumes of Stevie Wonder songs.

He does them intelligently and comprehensively, in arrangements that assign the melodic hooks and rhythmic breaks of tunes like "Easy Goin' Evenin'" and "Whereabouts" to members of his trio as if they were sections of an orchestra. On the best pieces here, Gilman retains the unmistakable piquant essence of the Wonder sound even as he subjects Wonder's songs to bold jazz transformations. "Another Star" is taken so fast it goes by in a blur. "Knocks Me Off My Feet" is broken up and re-launched as a spattering waltz. In time-honored jazz fashion, Gilman uses "Cryin' Through the Night" as an excuse to blow. He finds emotionally valid jazz ballad material in "You and I."

Bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown are skilled, creative young players who are responsible for much of this project's sense of hipness and currency.