I toyed with the idea of resting and relaxing until after the first of the year, but then there’s this, Ronny Whyte‘s latest album, and it’s the perfect New Year’s Eve album. Ronny Whyte is one of those old-school jazz singer-pianists who likes to play with a fairly large band and take you back to a time when the best songs came from people looking back on their lives with a modicum of wisdom and regret. It’s been more than two years since I reviewed the last CD from Ronny Whyte, Shades of Whyte, and I wrote:
“This singer and pianist has one of those big, clear voices like Joe Henderson or even Sinatra. He sounds like Vegas, and not in a bad way. He’s seasoned and he knows how to sing a song as if it’s an outtake from his autobiography. You know this guy. You’ve heard him before, even if you’ve never heard of him before.”
Not a lot has changed in Whyte’s new album, Whyte Witchcraft, where he takes on Cy Coleman and his many entries into the Great American Songbook such as “The Best Is Yet to Come” and “Witchcraft” and “It Amazes Me.” Ronny Whyte also mixes up the songs between Cecilia Coleman Big Band and his own trio, giving Whyte Witchcraft that feeling of a man on a big stage sharing his spotlight with just a few musicians at a time. As I mentioned last time around, Ronny Whyte has the Sinatra thing down pat without copying Sinatra. He has the gravitas, the feeling in his tone that lets you know he’s had those ups and downs and it made him a smarter man in the end. Listen up.
I usually spend New Year’s Eve hiding in my house, trying to avoid all those drunken idiots my parents warned me about I was younger. This year I’m actually going to a Buffalo Sabres game, which is very atypical for me. That said, I wouldn’t mind hosting a somewhat hip and elegant New Year’s Eve party in a downtown penthouse overlooking the city. (I know, it’s only Rochester but the lights can still be pretty in the evening, even though “dusk” happens around four in the afternoon this time of year.) But I’d be playing this Ronny Whyte album because it sets the perfect mood for the celebration. Happy New Year!