There've been many clever cover versions of Bill Withers' "Use Me" over the years (including the new brassy rendition by trumpeter Rick Braun), but vocalist Chris Bennett, with the help of Latin-driven producer Alec Milstein, has come up with one of the contemporary best. Arturo Velaseco's trombone blows heavy over a jumpy piano riff, which introduces Bennett's soulful vocal riding above Freddie Crespo's pitter-patter percussion and horn section accents. Thus, a great adult contemporary vocalist suddenly transforms to a stylish Latin big-band singer. Milstein also helps her find a little Brazilian magic inside of herself, on the bright and breezy "Hopeless Case." "On a Summer Night," "Flamingo," and "Until the End of Time" have a balmy tropical flavor about them, but for the most part they bring Bennett back to her usual middle-of-the-road romantic fare -- which is always appealing. Milstein's playful guitar solo in the intro of "Faster Than Expected" introduces the peppy Latin energy of the tune. The basic premise of Bennett's latest project seems to be driving her into the Latin market, but without getting too far away from the less exotic style that established her. It's an appealing leap.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran