IN A BLUE MOOD
Ronny Whyte Whyte Witchcraft: Songs of Cy Coleman
Whyte Witchcraft: Songs of Cy Coleman
In his liner notes to “Whyte Witchcraft,” singer Ronny Whyte writes about his long relationship with the legendary songwriter, and Tony Award-winner, Cy Coleman. This relationship went well beyond merely singing many of Coleman’s songs. This album, his eleventh for Audiophile, has him backed by the Cecilia Coleman Big Band, or Eddie Monteiro on accordion and vocalese and Tony Tedesco on drums. On two selections Whyte plays piano and sings with Boots Maleson on bass and David Silliman on drums.
With a career extending six decades, one should not be surprised if there are some notes Ronny Whyte cannot quite reach. He compensates with phrasing and timing. The backing helps showcases his gift for delivering lyrics whether with a big band backing him on “Too Good To Talk About,” or when supported by Monteiro’s accordion and vocalese on “The Best Is Yet To Come.” Monteiro’s horn-like, wordless vocalese, also provides an interesting contrast to the delivery of the words. On “Too Good To Talk About,” Daniel Glaude contributes a notable alto sax. Monteiro’s accordion has a pianistic quality on “I’m Watching You.”
Justin Wood contributes a beautiful flute solo on the lovely ballad “Sometimes When You’re Lonely,” wonderfully sung with a luscious big band backing. Another performance with the big band is “Why Try To Change Me Now,” with Whyte’s reflective vocal supported by the handsome arrangement. Then there is the hard-swinging big band behind Whyte’s Sinatra-sounding vocal on “Don’t Ask a Lady.” With Monteiro sounding like he is playing a Hammond B3 and an electric piano, Whyte delivers a spirited rendition of “Witchcraft.” Also, the duo is heard backing Whyte on the light-hearted “Sweet Talk.”
In his liner notes, Whyte relates the story of attending a birthday party for Lynn Richards’ at Cy Coleman’s home and sang some songs. He requested Cy if he would play piano for him, which he had never done before, and sang “I Got Your Number” with Coleman playing. Here backed by Monteiro and Tedesco, Whyte delivers this song from the show “Little Me.” On “You Fascinate Me,” Whyte accompanies himself with his trio. He is an adept pianist and self-accompanist on this appealing performance. The swing of “Alright I Love You.” Elijah Shiffer takes a meaty tenor sax solo behind the animated vocal by Whyte, that closes this delightful vocal jazz recording.