Recommended if You Like
Ed Calle Kirk Whalum

Genres You Will Love
Easy Listening: Love Songs Moods: Featuring Saxophone Easy Listening: Adult contemporary

By Location
United States - Florida

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Sylvia Bennett featuring Boots Randolph, Ed Calle and Kirk Whalum

“Man, the lady can sing! Her magic gets to the ears and the hearts of the audience.”
- Lionel Hampton

Cole Porter once asked, “What Is This Thing Called Love,” and it’s a question that many of our greatest artists have grappled with ever since – creating some of America’s most enduring and timeless music in the process. Sylvia Bennett is always looking for ways to keep the great standards alive. On her new album Smile, Sylvia and her long-time producer, Hal Batt, knew they had something special brewing when they decided to take love songs from the American songbook and give them a twist. They wanted to do something different so they chose to divert from her other albums featuring horns and make it a little more lush with natural strings giving it a softer side.

The Italian born and American raised Bennett is a singer’s singer, having sung on TV, in community theater, club dates, conventions and even the inaugurations of presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Walking in the footsteps of her idols such as Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Barry Manilow and Bette Midler, Sylvia has opened for artists as diverse as Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Jackie Mason, Dizzy Gillespie, Barry Gibb and David Brenner.

Her big break came in the 1980’s, when legendary vibraphonist (and National Arts Award Winner) Lionel Hampton took Sylvia under his wing and made her the first female singer to record with him in thirty years. She recounts, “Lionel validated me as a performer and inspired me to be the best singer I can be. He made me realize that the audience was the most important thing and that all I needed to do was to sing from the heart and be honest.” Sylvia worked with Hampton for ten years, touring and recording two albums together. The first, Sentimental Journey, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1987. The second project, There Will Never Be Another You, was a CD/DVD tribute to “Hamp” from Sylvia, and she furthered the honor to her mentor with the show, “The Lady and the Legend,” premiering in Miami in 2007. Songs From The Heart featuring the Three Tenors (tenor saxophone legends Boots Randolph, Ed Calle and Kirk Whalum) emerged in the wake of Sylvia’s tribute to Hampton. Hal Batt suggested that she record timeless love songs and standards, backed by a small band to convey the desired intimacy.

Smile is a collection of wonderful standards, recognizable, but all with a new flair to appeal to a broader audience. The flavors are bossa novas, boleros and a new hybrid merengue. Inspiration came from a history of enjoying the styles of Sergio Mendez and Wes Montgomery. The music is grooving with luscious percussion and masterful guitar. The richness of the beautiful strings touches the heart. Two bonus tracks are included one a Spanish version of Smile and a smooth pop version of Look of Love.

And, now Sylvia and Hal invite you to enjoy their latest creation and hope you smile all the way.