CD REVIEWS OF "THAT'S THE SPIRIT"
Artist: Cynthia Kaay Bennett
Title: That's The Spirit
Label: Cara Mia Music - a division of Cynthia Kaay Enterprises - CP2003
Available through her Website: www.cynthiakaay.com
Personnel: Cynthia Kaay Bennett (vocals) Catherine Styron Marx (pno/kyd) Andy Reiss (gtr) Charlie Chadwick (bass) Bob Mater (drs/perc)
"Cynthia Kaay Bennett is a completely new name to me but I am certainly pleased to have made her acquaintance through this CD. She began her music career at an early age and studied at Ohio State University receiving her Master's degree. Whilst working full time she performed in clubs and at festivals. After moving to Nashville in 1997 she began experimenting with different styles of music. I would not normally go out of my way to listen to a whole CD of seasonal songs, but in this case I would make an exception. This CD is made up of a selection of fairly well known seasonal songs and some that are new to me but well worth hearing.
The first track on the CD, "Mary, Did You Know" has a religious theme, has some strong guitar backing from Andy Reiss and is sung with feeling by Miss Bennett who has a delightful pure voice. Frank Loesser's "What Are You Doing New Years Eve" is a track I keep returning to; it's such a good song and is sung so well with some cracking piano by Catherine Styron Marx. Ringing the changes "Party for Santa Claus" has a lilting West Indian feel with appropriate backing. "I Pray on Christmas" is Miss Bennett in gospel mode. She appears to be able to find the right approach whatever type of song she chooses. We are in soul territory with "The Spirit of Christmas" with wailing guitar and organ backing, but things calm down for an appropriate reading of "Silent Night". "I Bought You a Plastic Star for Your Aluminum Tree" is great fun with fine piano and guitar with the singer enjoying herself. There is the obligatory "The Christmas Song" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", but every track is a gem and chosen with care.
What can I say about Cynthia Kaay Bennett? Well, she has a marvelous singing voice and uses it to great effect; she certainly deserves greater exposure. There are lesser singers about who are getting a lot of attention and she should be up there amongst them. If you want to buy yourself an early Christmas present you couldn't do better than to buy this CD."
Reviewed by Roy Booth
Jazz Views, UK
Suzanne Carroll, radio host of The Jazz Brunch, 101.5 fm had this to say about "That's the Spirit":
"I was simply blown away. As the program director for my show I am always searching for those special sounds, and I knew I had found the CD that would make my show just perfect this holiday season!!
The arrangements, the musicians, the song choices, and of course the beautiful pure sound of Cynthia's voice will mesmerize you as it did me. Pop it in your CD player and hear for yourself.
Cynthia Kaay Bennett's new holiday CD titled "That's the Spirit" is a truly amazing jazz product and delightful Christmas classic that deserves your attention. My listeners are going to love it, and I know you will too!"
Happy Listening - Happy Holidays!
The Jazz Brunch * WRVF 101.5 The River