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CD Reviews

New releases from Slim Forsythe, Eve Goodman, Nina Sainato and George Benson

Slim Forsythe & Friends
Down on My Knees at Nied's Hotel Again


Lawrenceville's singin' cowboy returns with a new release, thanks to help from scads of friends. Elliott Sussman, The Nied's Hotel Band, The Turbosonics and plenty of others help out on the 13-track offering that winds through surf-rock, old-time-radio spoken-word and, most of all, old-style country.

-- Andy Mulkerin

SLIM FORSYTHE CD RELEASE. 7 p.m. Sat., Dec. 10. Lawrenceville Moose, 120 51st St., Lawrenceville.


Eve Goodman
What the Living Do

The veteran singer-songwriter -- who's lived in Pittsburgh since 2002 -- presents 17 tracks, mostly originals. Excellent guitar work on this folky, upbeat collection, a solid contribution to the local Triple-A scene. Created with collaborator John Caldwell, with assists from folks like Jim DiSpirito, Ray DeFade, Glenn Pavone and Geña.

-- Andy Mulkerin

EVE GOODMAN CD RELEASE. 7 p.m. Thu., Dec. 8. Square Café, 1137 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square. 


Nina Sainato
Holly & Ivory


The temptation when you see an album cover featuring a leggy brunette draped over a piano in front of a Christmas tree is to figure this might well be a lightweight. But Nina Sainato plays a bit with stereotypes and assumptions here. The first half of the disc is sexed-up 20th-century jazz and rock Christmas standards, sure (including a duet with Donnie Iris on that creepy classic, “Baby It’s Cold Outside”). But the second half features Sainato’s nuanced arrangements of some of the best Christmas music ever written — “O Holy Night,” “Carol of the Bells” — for piano, along with a beautiful original. Nicely played!


-- Andy Mulkerin


George Benson
Guitar Man

(Concord Jazz)

Every so often in this 12-tune set (in which no piece stretches out into extensive improvisation) Benson plays his instrument with impressive virtuosity. Most notable is his reflexive, solo version of “Tenderly,” which makes the most of that song’s inherent gentleness.  He also plays a clever introductory suggestion of bagpipes on “Danny Boy,” his only other venture into playing alone. More often, slick stuff dominates, as if aiming for continued commercial appeal. Joined by various small-sized groups, Benson connects with the elemental edges of four vocals and six pop standards whose treatments have nothing special to offer. Don’t expect anything lively, although a taste of “Tequila” gets a little salty and bouncy where, as occasionally elsewhere, pianist Joe Sample adds brief, appealing embellishments. For those of us who’ve always admired Benson’s talent as a jazz performer, this session too often disappoints.

-- Gordon Spencer