Antonia Bennett – Natural (CD review)

Antonia Bennett – Natural (Mesabluemoon) – CD review –

Antonia Bennett’s debut EP, Natural, is not much of a stretch, considering her pedigree.  The youngest daughter of Tony Bennett tackles some territory certainly familiar to her father, doing songs from composers like Gerswhin, Hart and Berlin.  The arrangements are also similar to her dad’s; jazz-influenced, with the piano at the forefront.

She’s meant this as both a document of the music she was exposed to growing up, and as a homage to her dad, whom she is currently on a worldwide tour with, opening his shows.  Her take on Gershwin’s “Soon” is breathy and sensual, while Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” is bouncy and lighthearted.  “The Thrill is Gone” is a sad, torch song and she nails it.  At times, her voice can take on a childlike quality akin to Eartha Kitt or a young Billie Holiday, as in “I Wish I Were in Love Again.”  .  The real surprise is the final cut, a supper club take on the Pat Benatar classic “Love is a Battlefield.”  Natural is produced by Holly Knight, who composed that hit back in the eighties.  Antonia is currently working with Knight on a more contemporary set of songs, closer to something like Kelly Clarkson.  But, for the time being, Bennett shows that she’s certainly been paying attention at home all these years. –Tony Peters