Couldn't Be Hotter

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
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, ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
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.
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: 9/23/2003
  • Label: Telarc
  • UPC: 089408358623
  • Catalog Number: 83586

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The 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 B. Pinkard Composer
Kevin Sproatt Engineer
Katsu Kusakabe Producer, Managing Director
Nicholas Jeen Tour Manager
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