Kenny Rankin: Here In My Heart

For his second Private Music album (following Professional Dreamer, 1995), crooner Kenny Rankin flawlessly delivers 13 love ballads and South American-flavored songs, with non-intrusive backing from top soloists.

Saxophonists Michael Brecker and Ernie Watts, keyboardist Don Grusin, guitarists Oscar Castro-Neves, harmonica player Toots Thielemans, and Ricardo Silveira add politely to the session. Singers Rosa Pasos, Babele Gilberto, and Rankin’s daughters, Gena and Chanda, augment some tunes.

A 30-year veteran, Rankin knows how to work a song. He sings straight from his heart to tell stories with lyrics. Serving up romance with intimate, Chet Baker-like vocals, Rankin paints Cool hues with tender improvisations around melodies.

Also a polished songwriter, Rankin contributes two easy-swaying originals to this well-paced, sentimental album, which includes songs by Jobim, Ivan Lins (with English lyrics by Brock Walsh), and others.

Rankin’s soft timbre and high-toned vocals grace each song with beguiling sweetness and beauty, shaping Here In My Heart into a dreamy album for lovers.