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Monday, October 13, 2008

CD Review: Sylvia Bennett - Songs From The Heart

Sylvia Bennett - Songs From The Heart
2008, Out Of Sight Music

Sylvia Bennett doesn't need a great deal of introduction to jazz fans. She toured and recorded with Lionel Hampton for ten years beginning in the 1980's. Bennett has a loyal base of fans, and it's easy to see why. Her voice is a classic jazz voice that would fit in alongside folks like Kay Starr, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. Songs From The Heart is a musical journey through some of the classic songs of the jazz era. Sitting on this record as soloists are none other than Boots Randolph, Kirk Whalum and Ed Calle.

Bennett is in fabulous voice throughout, although her energy level is sporadic on Songs From The Heart. The arrangements are gorgeous (check Since I Fell For You). I also enjoyed Embraceable You and I Still Love You. Other highlights include Someone To Watch Over Me, Ain't Misbehavin' and My Funny Valentine. The presence of legends Randolph, Whalum and Calle certainly spice up this record, but Bennett's voice dominates all other considerations. The more I listen to her the more she reminds me Keely Smith -- she has the same tone and vocal quality that I hear in the old Louis/Keely recordings.

Songs From The Heart is a fairly typical collection of standards. The interpretations are reverent and do not try to break new ground. Boots Randolph, Kirk Whalum and Ed Calle add some credibility for jazz purists, but most of them already know Bennett and her resume. This is vocal jazz at its best. Sylvia Bennett is a consummate performer and is certainly worth your attention.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Sylvia Bennett at You can purchase a copy of Songs From The Heart at

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