Couldn't Be Hotter

Couldn't Be Hotter

by The Manhattan Transfer
     
 

Three decades after its inception, Manhattan Transfer is still the premier vocal group of jazz. None of their recordings have proved this as conclusively as this exuberant live album, which catches the now-classic ensemble in sterling form. With its mighty ensemble blend, formed from the unity of four distinct solo voices, the quartet ventures over a wide array of… See more details below

Overview

Three decades after its inception, Manhattan Transfer is still the premier vocal group of jazz. None of their recordings have proved this as conclusively as this exuberant live album, which catches the now-classic ensemble in sterling form. With its mighty ensemble blend, formed from the unity of four distinct solo voices, the quartet ventures over a wide array of material that shares one characteristic: swing. Be it a lush ballad or an upbeat romp, the group digs in and brings it to living color. Tipping their hat to Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, the Mills Brothers, Django Reinhardt, and others, the Transfer reaffirm their commitment to entertaining jazz, enlivening quality material with intelligence, taste, and skill. Raising their voices together, this venerable group does its part to keep populist jazz alive.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Aaron Latham
Although Manhattan Transfer have released other live albums, the collections were scattershot affairs that mainly focused on their '80s pop experiments or Vocalese-era jazz numbers that never really coalesced into one solid, perfectly performed concert recording. Twenty-eight years after their debut album, Manhattan Transfer finally capture the magic of their live performances on disc with the appropriately titled Couldn't Be Hotter. This generous 16-track collection, culled from concerts recorded at Tokyo's Orchard Hall in 2000, focuses on the pure vocal jazz that initially brought attention to the group back in the early '70s. With the exception of the 1980 pop hit "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone," the Transfer load the program with jazz and swing selections, most of which were featured on their two studio releases Swing and Spirit of St. Louis. The quartet takes command of the stage immediately with Louis Armstrong's "Old Man Mose," as Tim Hauser leads a looser and more exciting version than the one heard on the 78 rpm-inspired Spirit of St. Louis. The Transfer have always been one of the most successful purveyors of vocalese (writing lyrics to fit previously recorded instrumental solos), and Cheryl Bentyne gives a fine example of this art as she deftly sings Jon Hendricks' lyrics in "Clouds," capturing almost every instrumental nuance of the original Django Reinhardt solo. Each member of the group is highlighted throughout the disc, but they truly come alive when working together as a vocal quartet, as on "Sing Moten's Swing," or when lively interacting with each other as they do throughout the Cajun-beat of "Stompin' at Mahogany Hall." What separates the Transfer from other similar jazz vocal groups is the fact that they utilize their voices as actual instruments instead of just singing, sometimes sounding like a solo muted trumpet or like a full saxophone section when vocalizing together. That is why they are at their peak when performing vocal jazz or jazz-related material instead of the pop music excursions that never really suited them well, like "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone." Although a crowd-pleaser, the pop song detracts from the tone set by the preceding songs and features a half-hearted vocal effort as if it were an obligatory addition to the set list. However, that one minor flaw should not diminish the fact that, with its consistent theme, excellent pacing, and impeccable performances, Couldn't Be Hotter documents Manhattan Transfer at their vocal best.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/23/2003
Label:
Telarc
UPC:
0089408358623
catalogNumber:
83586

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Manhattan Transfer   Primary Artist
Janis Siegel   Group Member
Lew Soloff   Trumpet,Guest Appearance
Cheryl Bentyne   Group Member
Wayne Johnson   Guitar
Michael Bowie   Bass
Tom Brechtlein   Drums
Yaron Gershovsky   Keyboards
Tim Hauser   Group Member
Larry Klimas   Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Alan Paul   Group Member

Technical Credits

Hoagy Carmichael   Composer
Charlie Christian   Composer
Ella Fitzgerald   Composer
Benny Goodman   Composer
Django Reinhardt   Composer
Jimmy Mundy   Composer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Van Alexander   Composer
Louis Armstrong   Composer
Sidney Arodin   Composer
Eddie DeLange   Composer
Dorothy Fields   Composer
Yaron Gershovsky   Music Direction
Jay Graydon   Composer
Tim Hauser   Producer
Jon Hendricks   Composer
Bernard Herrmann   Composer
Michael Hutchinson   Remixing
Charles F. Kenny   Composer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Alan Paul   Composer,Adaptation
Jesse Stone   Composer
Ned Washington   Composer
Spencer Williams   Composer
Victor Young   Composer
Bob Blumenthal   Liner Notes
Anilda Carrasquillo   Art Direction
Maceo Pinkard   Composer
Louis Alter   Composer
Sidney Mitchell   Composer
Frank Perkins   Composer
Benny Moten   Composer
Robert Hadley   Mastering
Nick Kenny   Composer
Edna Alexander   Composer
Kevin Sproatt   Engineer
Katsu Kusakabe   Producer,Managing Director
Nicholas Jeen   Tour Manager

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