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Probably best known for her Grammy nominated "Theme from the Midnight Express" which she wrote with Giorgio Moroder, Chris Bennett has been slowly, surely and confidentially building up a discography of albums over the last eight years. Her fourth undertaking pushes her toward Latin rhythm with a combination of her writings and those from such masters of the genre as Antonio Carlos Jobim. Yet at the same time, she doesn't stray far from that breathless, contemporary pop, crossover jazz style that has characterized her work to date. Like many of her peers who work hard to straddle jazz vocalizing while at the same time bringing in contemporary pop music so as to attract the younger fans, Bennett uses a blend of her original and familiar material to make her musical points. Also, it's interesting the way she uses her musicians on the original material. The music is staccato, "bang, bang" in the sense that it doesn't dwell on any particular theme or group of chords for any length of time. Make the point and get on to the next one. While this crisp approach to music making has a certain amount of excitement in it, as on "Use Me" and "He's Not Ready for Me", it leaves the listener unfulfilled. On the better known songs, such as "Flamingo", there's a dot of romanticism introduced. But even here one has the sense that there is a lack of willingness to sit back and enjoy the captivating melody of this tune. In contrast, Bennett and her cohorts nurture tunes like "Someone to Light up My Life" and "Once I Loved".
Bennett has garnered a fine group of fellow artists to join her in this her latest endeavor, including smooth, crossover jazz master Eric Marienthal. There is no doubt that the singer oozes with talent both as a performer and as a composer. The Latin infected rhythms will certainly keep one's shoulders rolling and toes tapping. Ah, but will it capture the soul? Visit Chris at her interesting web page at www.chrisbennett.com.
Track Listing: Use Me; Hopeless Case; On a Summer Night; Until the End of Time; Flamingo; He's Not Ready for Me; Someone to Light up My Life; Faster Than Expected; The Lamp Is Low; Once I Loved
Personnel: Chris Bennett - Vocals; Eric Marienthal - Alto Sax; Wayne Johnson, Kleber Jorge - Guitar; Armando Castagnoli - Tenor Sax; Freddie Crespo - Percussion; Alec Milstein - Bass/Piano/ Guitar; Eddy Resto - Bass; Arturo Velasco - Trombone; Frank Strauss - Piano/Strings; Kevin Ricard, Mz. Bobbye Hall - Percussion; Kevin Winard - Drums
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.