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Vocalist Christ Bennett publishes her 11th recording, Sail Away: The Tahiti Sessions amid an impressive population of like-minded recordings, and still manages to attract attention. Bennett dons the silk of a jazz singer and composer as easily as she navigated such disparate genre as disco and adult contemporary pop. Sail Away is approximately 50/50 standards and Bennett originals. Her choice of standards, while "standard," still manage to provide new and careful insight into the American Songbook.
"These Foolish Things" was composed by the songwriting team of Eric Maschwitz (lyrics) and Jack Strachey (music) in 1936. The song was part of a group called "May Fair Songs,"that also included "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," written by Maschwitz under the pen-name Holt Marvell. It has since become a ballad standard, demanding a certain sensitivity of its interpreters.
Bennett elects to give the song a light treatmentjust her, pianist Eric Doney, and a tasteful hint of strings. Bennett's voice is perfectly suited for such fare. Perfectly balanced with a crystalline quality that is both durable and delicate, Bennett's singing immediately captures the longing of the song's protagonist. Doney never burdens Bennett, strolling with her wistfully. Bennett adheres to the melody, a reminder that the composers did know that they were doing. There is precious little song craft like this today.
Personnel: Chris Bennett: vocals; Eric Doney: piano.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.