Wild Is the Wind

“Everybody Wants To Rule the World”

(Slea Head)

When vocalist Kari Kirkland initially went into the studio for a quintet session produced by pianist Shelly Berg, it was with the intention of recording a six-song EP. However, over the course of two days, the synergy between singer and musicians was scintillating enough to convince them that a full album was warranted. The results are captured on Wild Is the Wind (Slea Head), Kirkland’s debut release featuring a mix of jazz standards — including the Nina Simone title track, which Kirkland says was inspired by David Bowie’s version — and jazzified pop and rock tunes. A beautifully reimagined take of the 1985 Tears for Fears’ hit “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” is a prime example of Kirkland’s ability to find jazzy expression in non-jazz material, aided by the sublime backing of Berg, guitarist Dean Parks, bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Gregg Field, A-list players all. Kirkland’s delivery contains an aching world-weariness appropriate to the material, the rather bleak lyrics — still relevant  today (“Acting on your best behavior/Turn your back on Mother Nature”) — at odds with the jaunty melody. Kirkland has been successful at several things she’s turned her hand to — Ironman Triathlete, private chef, flying trapeze/aerial bungee artist — and now can add jazz singer to a remarkable résumé.

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