The photo of Ronny on his new album shows Whyte grinning wryly with a pair of sunglasses resting on his nose low enough to expose his eyes. It serves as a nice pictorial pun to emphasize that this album is a collection of good songs with no particular theme other than that he is a singer/ pianist who nicely handles a variety of material and styles.
In this undertaking, he is superbly supported in various combinations by Lou Caputo on tenor sax and flute, Alex Nguyen on trumpet, Sean Harkness on guitar, Boots Maleson on bass, and either Mauricio DeSouza or David Silliman on drums. Whyte is one of those singers who seems to come up with new or too often ignored material that brings unexpected delights to the fore. In Whyte's case, the songs are often ones for which he has written the music or words of both. Particularly fetching are two selections, Linger Awhile, with lyrics by Roger Schore, and Blame It on the Movies, with Whyte's words and music. Yes, there are some familiar tunes like The Song Is You, I'm Old-Fashioned, and Dancing in the Dark, but there are wonderful songs like Nina Never New, I'll Close My Eyes, For Heaven's Sake, and Too Late Now, that, while not unknown, are too rarely performed.
Whyte pays full respect to any lyric that he sings, and does so in a relaxed and confident way. There used to be ample opportunities for fans of good songs to drop into a venue in New York City on a regular basis to hear performers like Ronny Whyte, Hugh Shannon, Charles DeForest, Bobby Short and Charles Cochran. Now we often have to rely on recorded collections like Shades of Whyte to keep us musically satisfied.
Joe Lang | Jersey Jazz