The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath

Pene­lope Sai Sings 007 Pene­lope Sai MGM/Planet For her fourth al­bum re­lease, Syd­ney vo­cal­ist Pene­lope Sai has cho­sen 14 James Bond songs, ac­com­pa­nied by her es­tab­lished trio led by pi­anist Sean Macken­zie plus a cou­ple of guests. While some of these songs have been al­most done to death by so many record­ings, Sai man­ages to reimag­ine them, strip­ping some back, de­liv­er­ing se­duc­tive in­ter­pre­ta­tions and oc­ca­sional doses of hu­mour. Per­haps the best known is the ti­tle song from the 1964 film Goldfin­ger where Sai breathes a sexy ren­di­tion into the lyrics, and vi­o­lin­ist Di­dier Lock­wood plus Scotty Barn­hart on trum­pet bring depth and flair to this over­worked song. The vo­cal­ist pre­vi­ously has recorded a suc­cess­ful ver­sion of Di­a­monds are For­ever and, with some im­pres­sive trum­pet work from Barn­hart, re­peats the song here. The 1979 ti­tle song from the film Moon­raker is taken at a slow tempo and de­vel­ops im­pres­sive depth of feel­ing, aided by Macken­zie’s flour­ish­ing pi­ano ad­di­tions. A del­i­cate vi­olin in­tro be­gins From Rus­sia With Love as the song segues into a soft Latin beat and Lock­wood adds a pro­found vi­olin solo ahead of Sai’s in­ter­pre­ta­tive fi­nal cho­rus. Barn­hart’s trum­pet takes front stage for an ex­tended solo on Thun­der­ball and adds the fills when the vo­cal­ist re­turns to end the song with some mild scat. You Only Live Twice re­ceives a soft bal­lad treat­ment with a silky smooth trum­pet and pi­ano in­ter­lude herald­ing Sai’s re­turn cho­rus and lead­ing the way to con­clu­sion. This is a pol­ished col­lec­tion of many well-known songs given in­di­vid­ual treat­ment by the vo­cal­ist, soloists, and the ar­range­ments.

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