Sathima Bea Benjamin: SongSpiritBy
The previously unreleased "It Never Entered My Mind is a duet with pianist Abdullah Ibrahim that was made in 1973. Together, husband and wife pour emotions into their interpretation, leaving nothing to the imagination. It's all there, expressed as only two true believers can do it.
On her earlier dates, Benjamin sang with the demeanor of a comfortable big band singer. Her motivation came from a love for the music, so it's no surprise that she enjoyed sending out straightforward melodies with an emphasis on lyrical beauty. Through some of her later work, she introduced themes that allowed her the freedom to interpret them with her unique manner. Both "Africa and "Children of Soweto come from Memories and Dreams, where she superimposed her emotional melodies over a genuine South African foundation.
1999's "I Only Have Eyes for You finds Benjamin working the pitch over so that it drifts intentionally, adding zest to her performance. It's a personal statement. A little shading here, a little alteration there, and you have an original voice that celebrates freedom.
What Benjamin does with "I'll Follow My Secret Heart (from 2002) represents some of her best work. She's earned the right to follow her own path, and it's no longer a secret. As she marks her 70th birthday, I wish her well and know that she'll continue blazing her own trail among the vocal paths available to jazz singers around the world.
Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life; I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good; Africa; Indian Summer; It Never Entered My Mind; I Only Have Eyes for You; Memories of You; Music; Lush Life; Children of Soweto; I'll Follow My Secret Heart; Loveless Love/Careless Love
Sathima Bea Benjamin: vocals; Kenny Barron: piano (4,9,12); Duke Ellington: piano (2); Henry February: piano (6); Onaje Allan Gumbs: piano (1,3,7,10); Abdullah Ibrahim: piano (5); Stephen Scott: piano (11); Larry Willis: piano (8); Johnny Gertze: bass (2); Basil Moses: bass (6,11); Buster Williams: bass (1,3,4,7,8,9,10,12); Lulu Gontsana: drums (11); Billy Higgins: drums (3,4,8,9,10,12); Makhaya Ntshoko: drums (2); Vincent Pavitt: drums (6); Ben Riley: drums (1,7,); Svend Asmussen: pizzicato violin (2); Carlos Ward: alto saxophone (3,10); Ricky Ford: tenor saxophone (8)
Title: SongSpirit | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Ekapa
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About Sathima Bea Benjamin
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