Beat Kaestli

Invitation

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Born in Bern, Switzerland, Beat Kaestli (pronounced "Bay-ott Kest-lee") sings in hushed tones and romantic visions on this, his second recorded effort. With a voice that has been gauged somewhere between Chet Baker and Kenny Rankin, Kaestli's immaculate phrasing and low-key demeanor are best suited for late-night listening. While his vocals are the centerpiece, the instrumentalists he uses are nearly an afterthought, shadowing his lyric content, not embellishing, but perfectly accompanying as if they are entirely in the background. This is not a critique, just a fact, as guitarist Paul Meyers, bassist Jay Leonhart, drummer Billy Drummond, and guest horn soloists (Joel Frahm and Kenny Rampton) only lightly frame these standards. Beyond Baker or Rankin, perhaps Mark Murphy's stoic persona also plays a part in how Kaestli interprets the light but funky title selection, the slow ballad "It Could Happen to You," or "Day In, Day Out" which does recall both older and modern-day crooners. Kaestli works best with Leonhart, as all jazz singers love hooking up in duet intros or full-blown bluesy tunes with the upright bassist of their choice. Understated to the max, Beat Kaestli and friends make candlelight mood music both genders can get next to.

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