Grammy award winning vocalist Sylvia Bennett releases Sonrie, a jazz standards release with a new twist, well a Latin tinged one at least. In an era where a high percentage of jazz vocalists focus on the technique and articulation of the notes, it is refreshing to hear a master of song stylings put her spin on classic jazz standards completely sung in Spanish. So what about the authenticity you ask? Italian born, Bennett an always striving for perfection and reaching new heights (no wonder Lionel Hampton hired her permanently) artist procured a language coach (Juan Angelogianopulos) to make sure her journey would be flawless, and I must say that it is. Bennett shines; she lures the listener in with her luxurious voice and golden pipes, then sets the mood and delivers just the right atmosphere – no matter the language – for the listener.
There is something about performers who began their careers long ago that have the something special, that individual way of phrasing that so many vocalists of today have lost in the translation. Bennett knows how to deliver a storyline within her lyric delivery even when in a foreign tongue.
Mirada De Amor (The Look of Love), a breezy rendition perfect for a romantic evening, background music for a very important cocktail gathering with friends (especially suited for the upcoming holiday) or a quiet moment at the end of the day when you need to let down the stress of the day. A well covered acorn in the jazz genre “Besame Mucho” is given a mid-tempo treatment with Spanish guitar and all the sensual bells and whistles that Spanish delights offer.
The playful “Quien Sera” is augmented with, bassist Ranses Colon, pianist Mike Levine who create a solid locking sound for Hal Batt to build upon. Batt holds many roles as producer, guitarist, at times bass and percussion including all programming of Vienna Strings.
Overall, Bennett and Batt continuing a longtime working relationship of collaboration have again put together a wonderful blend of adult standards, but this time with a delightful twist. Spanish is becoming such a vital part of the fabric with the American culture. Bennett truly offers a release that melds two cultures together with the authenticity of Spanish rhythms and language coupled with the traditions of timeless jazz classics, this is truly and lasting statement that bridges the gap and creates a beautiful tribute to both cultures. Gran trabajo Sylvia Bennett!!
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