Having worked together for nearly 25 years, songstress Sylvia Bennett and producer Hal Batt knew a special project was brewing when they decided to do an album of love songs from the American songbook and give it a twist.
A great song is a great song, but sometimes the style and texture can be updated to appeal to a broader audience. “Smile” is a collection of wonderful standards, recognizable, but all with a new flair.
“We took the swing out of swing songs and gave them an international feel,” says Hal Batt. 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.
Until a title emerged, the album was dubbed “the bossa project” and was a labor of love as the pair meticulously selected the songs and recorded them with brilliant musicians. Then, as Sylvia was listening to what was beautifully created, it truly made her smile. A title was born!
“There is so much heartache in the world, but no matter what we go through in life we can find something to smile about. Whatever happens, love helps us survive it. This is music that makes you feel life is worth enjoying! ” Sylvia says.
The music is grooving with luscious percussion and masterful guitar. The richness of the beautiful strings touches the heart.
Smooth jazz and pop vocalist Sylvia Bennett received critical acclaim for her CD, “Songs from the Heart” featuring the Three Tenors, saxophonists Boots Randolph, Ed Calle and Kirk Whalum, as well as “There Will Never Be Another You,” with jazz legend Lionel Hampton. Sylvia performed with Hampton for 10 years and was nominated for a Grammy for their big band album, “Sentimental Journey.”
Producer Hal Batt is a 2-time ASCAP winning songwriter and a Dove award winning producer. He is credited on multiple Grammy nominated albums and has worked with such greats as Julio Iglesias, Chayanne, Jean Carne, Sandi Patty, Shakira and Miguel Angel Guerra as well as with many others.
And, now Sylvia and Hal invite you to enjoy their latest creation and hope you smile all the way.