All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Sathima Bea Benjamin: A Morning in Paris


Sign in to view read count
This recording belongs alongside the famous Reprise recording of Duke Ellington Presents the Dollar Brand Trio (Warner Bros., 1963)—now Abdullah Ibrahim. It comes from the same period and introduced the world to Ibrahim's then girlfriend, Beattie Benjamin (now Sathima Bea Benjamin). Actually, Benjamin heard Ellington in Zurich and convinced him to come hear Brand perform. Ellington also insisted that Benjamin sing for him, and the subsequent recordings were thought to be lost until relatively recently.

Benjamin is a master of bittersweet balladry and it infuses all of the stunning standards she sings on this, her earliest recording. The singing is sultry and stylized and almost painfully romantic. Ellington produces and plays piano on his classics "I Got it Bad... and "Solitude, and listen also for the pizzicato violin of the great, underrated Dane, Svend Asmussen. This is the voice of a young girl in the presence of masters and the surprise is that she never seems cowed by the giants. The reverb, odd at first, accents the quiet feelings of these songs.

On "Your Love Has Faded and "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square the pianist is Billy Strayhorn. He penned the former and the reading is poignant, as Benjamin's intimate and personal reading of the lyrics tells the sad story. Once again, the sound of the violin is a touching complement. The kind of melancholy expressed in these songs is universal; witness how the "English tale of the "Nightingale hits home in Benjamin's piercing rendition. On "I'm Glad There is You," Ibrahim is the pianist and he quietly underscores how even a somewhat "happy" song is colored "blue" by the Benjamin's no-nonsense reading.

Benjamin sings these songs as if for the first time and without frills or other mannerisms overused by vocalists. She is and has always been her own person.

Track Listing: Darn That Dream: I Got it Bad (And That Ain't Good); I Could Write a Book; I Should Care; Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year; Solitude; The Man I Love; Your Love Has Faded; I'm Glad There is You; Soon; Lover Man; A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.

Personnel: Sathima Bea Benjamin: vocals; Duke Ellington: piano; Billy Strayhorn: piano; Abdullah Ibrahim: piano; Svend Asmussen: pizzicato violin; Johnny Gertze: bass; Makaya Ntshoko: drums.

Title: A Morning in Paris | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Ekapa


comments powered by Disqus

If You Were the Only Boy in the World

If You Were the Only Boy in the World

Sathima Bea Benjamin
Cape Town Love

Careless Love/Loveless Love

Careless Love/Loveless Love

Sathima Bea Benjamin



Sathima Bea Benjamin
Musical Echoes

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Peaks of Light CD/LP/Track Review
Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Denmark I Was Born CD/LP/Track Review
In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983 CD/LP/Track Review
In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read A Year Ago Today CD/LP/Track Review
A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Dreams of Belonging CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach" CD/LP/Track Review The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "In Stride" CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Barry O'Sullivan
Published: January 29, 2018
Read "Imaga Mondo" CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "We Know Not What We Do" CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "The Late Set" CD/LP/Track Review The Late Set
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 14, 2017