Antonia Bennett: Embrace Me
2014: Antonia Music/Knightlife Music
Antonia Bennett on Vocals
Jon Davis on Piano
Rafael Barata on Drums
Paul Nowinski on Bass
Press: Lisa Hershfield
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 31, 2015
This CD is a fantastic surprise, as Antonia Bennett rises to her own stardom. The daughter of Tony Bennett, Ms. Bennett grew up around Sinatra and Dean Martin. She immediately creates tonal sensuality in each tune, from “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” to “Yesterdays’. Ms. Bennett’s crooning style is the feminine flip side of her father. Where Tony Bennett sings in deep earthiness, Ms. Bennett’s range is silky and surreal. Her band is top notch, with Jon Davis taking numerous, magnetic piano riffs, alongside Rafael Barata on drums and Paul Nowinski on bass. This recording is uncluttered, with just Ms. Bennett and her three-man band. It’s exceptionally effortless to focus on Ms. Bennett’s refined vocal talent without the distraction of a gathering of guest musicians. This is a voice that needs to be heard, and heard often. I plan to listen to this recording as often as possible, as Ms. Bennett brings such warmth and vibrancy to each musical moment.
#2 – But Not For Me – Composed by G. Gershwin – I. Gershwin. This track is imbued with a tempo for swing-able dance. Ms. Bennett croons with retro-smooth, elongated vocals. She’s sassy and silky, with cabaret attitude in each song. Mr. Nowinski’s bass bow comes in for the limelight, as Ms. Bennett’s style and presentation are mature beyond her years.
#4 – All the Things You Are – Composed by J. Kern – O. Hammerstein II. With a bossa nova introduction, Mr. Barata’s drum brushes add a soft, midnight flair. Mr. Davis’ generous piano solo, with drums and bass, are jazzy and differentiated to the shifting rhythmics. Ms. Bennett’s voice is evocative of 1940’s musical films, lush and languorous.
#6 – The Man I Love – Composed by G. Gershwin – I. Gershwin. This is one of my favorite ballads, and Ms. Bennett sings it with reverence and depth. The track opens with sinewy elegance, as the song glows with a yearning pulse. There’s nothing danceable here; this is for cognac and candles. I can’t imagine any listener not warming into spring, on hearing the Gershwins’ masterpiece so exquisitely illumined.
#9 – Yesterdays – Composed by J. Kern – O. Harbach. Ms. Bennett takes this standard up a notch in tempo, and here we have danceable. The piano’s buoyant solos expand with the vibrant bass and drums. Ms. Bennett sings this Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein tune with spunk and spirit. Who could resist mentally replaying these tunes, sung by such a master of the genre?