Ben Cassara | What a Way to Go! (November 2022)

1.I Just Found Out About Love 2.Living on Dreams (Vivo Sonhando) 3.What A Way To Go 4.The Party Upstairs 5.Zanzibar 6.Fotographia 7.Let’s Eat Home 8.Throw Me A Word 9.Secret Love 10.I Wish I Knew 11.I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart 12.Wheelers And Dealers 13.Linger Awhile 14.I Think I Fell In Love Today

Ben Cassara – vocals

Josh Richman – piano (1-7,9-12)

Ronny Whyte – piano (4,8,13,14)

Harry Allen – sax (1,3-5,7, 8,10,12)

Boots Maleson – low

Tim Horner – drums

Born and raised in New York City, Ben Cassara began singing around the family piano and later performed in church and high school choirs, culminating in a televised performance at Carnegie Hall at the age of 16.

He tried his luck in the theater but music was his first love and it didn’t take him long to start working in piano bars throughout the city.

After a while, Cassara decided to pursue a career as a leader. She began studying with jazz vocal coach Carol Fredette and working with different jazz accompanists in the city.

In 2013, Cassara released her first CD, “Sister Moon” on Chandler Records.

Their second album “What a Way To Go” (Audophile Records), is an eclectic collection of songs taken from the Great American Songbook, by Dave Frishberg and Antonio Carlos Jobim, and four originals by jazz pianist Ronny Whyte, producer of the CD, where he also plays the piano on several cuts.

Cassara is accompanied by a group of leading figures, such as bassist Boots Maleson (Milt Jackson, Elvin Jones, Jaki Byard, Archie Shepp, Kenny Barron, Dexter Gordon…), drummer Tim Horner (Hank Jones, Clifford Jordan, Pepper Adams, Joe Locke, Randy Brecker, Vic Juris…), pianist Josh Richman (Wynton Marsalis, Terell Stafford, Randy Brecker, Peter Washington, Charles Fambrough…), Harry Allen on saxophone, who has recorded more than 70 CDs as a leader and, at piano, the aforementioned Ronny White.

Cassara is a big fan of Dave Frishberg and that is why he has included three of his songs: “Zanzibar”, “Let’s Eat Home” and “Wheelers and Dealers”. Rhythmic and pleasant fit Cassara’s vocal style like a glove. Allen draws the melodies in all three compositions.

By Antonio Carlos Jobim he sings two songs: the romantic “Fotographia”, what a beautiful song!, and “Living on Dreams (Vivo Sonhando)”, both performed as a trio.

Ronnie Whyte Cassara performs the bluesy “The Party Upstairs,” the swinging “Throw Me a Word” and the ballads “Linger a While” and “I Think I Fell in Love Today.” Whyte signs the arrangements and plays piano on all four songs.

Another song on the album is “What a WaV to Go”, by June Tonkin, covered in its day by Mark Murphy. Another beautiful and romantic ballad with an exquisite Allen and a no less exquisite Richman.

The four remaining cuts are well-known songs: “I Just Found Out About Love” from the musical “Strip for Action”, “Secret Love” from the movie “Calamity Jane”, “I Wish I Knew” from the movie “Diamond Horseshoe” and “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” by Duke Ellington.

His student Cassaraa’s Carol Fredette was impressed by his communication and honesty and gave him this advice on how to approach the lyrics of a song: “Don’t think about how you would sing it. How would you say it?”

Cassara transmits serenity and Allen’s velvety sax collaborates perfectly on eight of the album’s cuts. The same can be said of Richman and Whyte’s piano. Maleson and Horner are the perfect accompaniment.

Cassara chats with the listener, creating the ideal atmosphere for a night of reflection.

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