Grammy-nominated jazz/pop song stylist Chris Bennett has taken a turn for bossa nova with the release of Until the End of Time
, a Brazilian and Latin-flavored labor of love that features an irresistible mix of exciting original material and unique arrangements of pop, jazz and Brazilian standards.
While Bennett self-produced her three previous recordings, Chris Bennett (1993) , Less Is More
(1997) and Live in Berlin
(1999), on the new project, she hands production reins over to veteran bassist, producer and recording artist Alec Milstein. Alec has been a fixture in Bennett’s band for four years, and has played with Jeff Lorber and the late Art Porter, as well as The Manhattan Transfer, Michael Franks and Better Midler.
On Until the End of Time
, Bennett collaborates with an exciting roster of musicians, including saxmen Eric Marienthal (who has played with the Chick Corea Elektric Band and The Rippingtons) and Armando Castagnoli.
"In the time that he’s been working with me, Alex has turned me on to an amazing amount of Brazilian and Latin music, including a lot of salsa and Brazilian legends like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Ivan Lins," Bennett said in a press release. "The vocal possibilities in these idioms are endless."
The album begins with a cocky, brass-splashed tribute to Bill Withers’ Use Me
. Other covers include the tropical-flavored samba Flamingo
, a dreamy The Lamp Is Low
(based on the classical piece Pavane
by Ravel) and two Jobim tunes: Someone to Light Up My Life
(featuring Marienthal) and the seductive I Once Loved
Bennett’s sparkling originals are the peppy Hopeless Case
, the mid-tempo Latin-tinged On a Summer Night
, the soulful Latin-Brazilian hybrid title song, the zesty salsa of He’s Not Ready for Me
and the festive cha cha gem, Faster Than Expected
On the opener, Chris does more than justice to the Withers’ classic. While keeping the flavor of the original intact, she makes Use Me
her own with the Latin rhythms and powerful trombone solo by Velasco. Her own Hopeless Case
is at once reflective of vocal magic delivered by such jazz divas as Basia, Cheryl Bentyne (of The Manhattan Transfer) and Barbara Long (Hiroshima).
The album continues with a succession of beautiful vocals and expert instrumentation. From the romantic On a Summer Night
to the melodramatic Once I Loved, Bennett and friends deliver an exciting, passionate and, at times, playful repertoire of South American vibes. Until the End of Time
is highly recommended for anyone who likes jazz vocals - especially for the listener who enjoys the Latin beat.