Less is More
Known for years as a songwriter-and particularly as a collaborator with Georgio Maroder-vocalist Chris Bennett proves that Less is More (Pipedream/Chartmaker PDP1050; 50:10) on a spare, meditative collection of romantic standards and wistful originals. Bennett has two lead voices here-her quietly cool, nearly vibrato-less alto, and her doodling, emotive piano work. The two combine nicely on playful reads of well-worn classics like "Isn't It Romantic" as well as lithe self-penned gems like the Sade-recalling "Drifting" and thoughtful, loping "Make Me New for You." Although the sparse arrangements sometimes reveal Bennett's wispier, fade-away high range, she transitions nicely to a smokier low range which keeps "People Will Say We're in Love" meditative rather than merely sentimental. A stellar supporting cast also keeps things moving-with inspired touches like Haim Shtrum's violin work on "People Will Say..." and Wayne Johnson's gorgeous fluttery guitar on "Dindi," mirroring the beautiful lyric "wind that speaks to the leaves/telling stories no one believes."