|MANHATTAN TRANSFER SWINGS INTO BLUE NOTE
New York Post; New York; Jan 8, 1999; Chip Deffaa;
Copyright New York Post Corporation Jan 8, 1999
WITH 20 albums and 10 Grammy awards to their credit, the highly polished, exuberant vocal group Manhattan Transfer (now at the Blue Note) has won worldwide fame since its founding in New York 30 years ago.
They were originally inspired by the seminal '50s-'60s jazz vocal group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, and still often use lyrics crafted for them by that group's pivotal figure, Jon Hendricks.
The clean, tight harmonies and carefully shaded dynamics of members Tim Hauser, Cheryl Bentyne, Alan Paul and Janis Siegel remain impeccable.
Their current show largely celebrates the Swing Era, with infectious vocal interpretations of big-band hits like "Moten Swing" and "King Porter Stomp." Siegel evokes the spirit of young Ella Fitzgerald on "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," while musical director Yoron Gershovsky gets the backing band into a Chick Webb vein.
The group got into such a satisfying swing groove for much of Tuesday's first set, my only complaint is that it was jarring when they occasionally, needlessly veered into other musical directions.
Their current show would have more musical integrity if they made it an all-swing set.