Shades of Whyte
Perhaps there is nothing extraordinary of the latest release by singer-pianist Ronny Whyte, which is not to deny definite pleasures to listening to this recording of renditions mostly from the Great American Songbook. A veteran, he recently turned 80, has been a fixture on the New York scene performing in many of the city’s intimate supper clubs, night clubs and superior hotel lounges. Besides arranging the songs, he co-wrote 5 of the 16 selections on this release. Backing him are bassist Boots Maleson, guitarist Sean Harksness, Lou Caputo on tenor sax & Flute, Mauricio De Souza on drums, and Alex Nguyen on trumpet with Dave Stillman on drums on one track.
Whyte recently turned 80 and there are a few spots where his intonation may be a tad off, but that is a minor issue. It is delightful to hear his straight-forward treatment of "This Song is You" (with a bit of scatting), "Nina Never Knew," and "Linger Awhile," as well as his bossa nova original "It's Time For Love," and a Bossa Nova medley of "A Little Samba" & "So Danco Samba." He is a romantic as displayed on his own 'I Love The Way You Dance," and the ballad "Blame It on The Movies." Caputo is outstanding throughout on either tenor sax or flute such as on the sober ballad, "Some Of My Best Friends Are The Blues." Nguyen's trumpet also marvelously compliments Whyte like on "For Heaven's Sake." "I'm Old fashioned" is a splendid performance without horns that allows Whyte to showcase his deft piano playing along with brief solos from Maleson and Stillman.
A swinging "Dancing in the Dark," with choice solos from Caputo, Maleson and Harksness closes this delightful vocal jazz CD.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the September-October Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 374). Here is Ronny Whyte in performance from 2007.