by Roland Freerier
For You, what else would you expect from an artist that their entire career has been about creating music for pure enjoyment, for entire delight and simply has done so for countless audiences since her mentor Lionel Hampton discovered her dulcimer voice. Who am I speaking of; why Sylvia Bennett of course. Her latest endeavor steps beyond her previous discography into the realm of a more polished commercial sound with pop elements and underpinnings of smooth jazz. Still teamed with her long-time producer Hal Batt, the production value is top-notch and offers the listener an aural experience.
“Fly Me To the Moon,” a classic Sinatra hit, is given a Latin rhythm that is given a laid back easy going feel, and Bennett weaves her beautiful voice onto the canvas Batt has created. Bennett is still as fresh as ever; her voice is full of buoyance and vibrancy. The title track “For You” is a danceable saucy Latin feel, with an ala Shakira vibe, but with a more adult contemporary edge. I can easily hear Batt’s production ideas through his work with artists such as Ricky Martin and Julio Iglesias shining through.
With two different versions of “Smile,” one offering a lounge approach, the other a chill version. Both have their charm and appeal, yet sit centered within the two camps of electronic production. It was nice to hear Bennett in such a fresh approach, sounding like any contemporary artist of today. Though quite removed from her previous albums, the tunes have a freshness to them.
“Two Hearts One Soul,” features guest artist Peter Ferencz on violin, he adds a beautiful texture to the tune, and the two create an elegant performance that sparkles with beauty. The tune has a retro 80s vibe, that is quite effective. Ferencz violin is sweet and adds a touch of romantic international flair. Bennett’s voice requites with believable longing as the two evolve the tune into a tune that transport you. I found myself thinking, this tune could easily find its way onto a Celine Dion album. Co-written by Batt and Bennett, the tune is very well-conceived and a thrilling additive to the album overall.
Bennett is as delightful as ever; this new direction is just another testament to her ability to be effective in any style or any genre of music. The key ingredient is Bennett’s voice, she is the glue to the entire project. That being said Batt certainly serves her well with his highly effective production values.
Track Listing: For You; Stay with Me; Two Hearts One Soul; I Never Thought; Fly Me to The Moon; Smile Loving You; Look of Love; Make Someone Happy; Glad to Know; Smile.
Personnel: Sylvia Bennett: vocals; Hal Batt: production, instrumentation; Peter Ferencz (violin).