Before the latest CD had a title, it was being referred to just as the "bossa project." That could have well been the name.
The vocalist and her longtime producer, Hal Batt, move away from their other albums by incorporating touches of bossa nova and bolero to the numbers. They walk a fine line, adding enough new elements to make the songs fresh while keeping them recognizable.
Smile also moves away from the horns that were part of the singer’s earlier albums, opting instead for a more gentle and lush sound with the help of strings.
People who don’t like Latin music shouldn’t be afraid. The flavors are there but are not overpowering. Even with the changes, there is no mistaken that this is Bennett’s show. Her smooth, assured vocals remain the focus.
While Sinatra infused "Witchcraft" with his typical swagger, Bennett strikes a more mellow tone as her vocals float above the percussion in the shimmery new arrangement.
The CD opens and closes with the Bacharach-David classic "Look of Love." The opening version sets the tone with its easy Latin vibe. A "smooth pop" version closes the 14-track album.
In between, Bennett delivers "The Very Thought of You," "Night and Day," "Fly Me To The Moon," and other classics. There is both an English and Spanish version of the Charlie Chaplin-penned title track.
There’s plenty to smile about here.