The Spirit of St. Louis

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Manhattan Transfer has paid tribute to Louis Armstrong in as lovingly radical a way as this "centennial" year might bring. Instead of trying to approximate Pop's swing and style, the acclaimed vocal quartet works with unexpected arrangements intended to shake things up rather than placate. Zydeco accordion, blues slide guitar, studio-altered percussion, tape loops, pedal steel guitar and other atypical touches -- for an Armstrong tribute, that is -- add brilliantly to the unique quality of the recording. But what else would you expect from a project produced by the now-legendary studio auteur Craig Street, the man who brought Cassandra Wilson to the charts? Not that ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Manhattan Transfer has paid tribute to Louis Armstrong in as lovingly radical a way as this "centennial" year might bring. Instead of trying to approximate Pop's swing and style, the acclaimed vocal quartet works with unexpected arrangements intended to shake things up rather than placate. Zydeco accordion, blues slide guitar, studio-altered percussion, tape loops, pedal steel guitar and other atypical touches -- for an Armstrong tribute, that is -- add brilliantly to the unique quality of the recording. But what else would you expect from a project produced by the now-legendary studio auteur Craig Street, the man who brought Cassandra Wilson to the charts? Not that longtime Manahttan Transfer fans should worry; there's still plenty of lush trademark harmonies, and lovely solo vocals from the group. But the Transfer sound distinctly revitalized, digging deep into thoroughly modern takes on revered material. Here's a smart project, filled with surprises, pulled off with remarkable aplomb.
All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
You always look for new things from the Manhattan Transfer, and after a couple of releases that weren't too innovative, followed by a three-year gap, suddenly they come out with a really peculiar-sounding, refreshingly weird observance of the Louis Armstrong centennial. It sounds as if they had spent those three years racking their brains trying to come up with a totally different studio sound that's neither nostalgic nor modern. Which is exactly what they've done; the sound is compressed to evoke that of an ancient 78 rpm disc but not any 78 you'll ever encounter, whether by Louis or anyone. You hear all kinds of odd things bumping around in the back like loose parts in a machine, strange electronic treatments of the voices, an accordion wailing through many of the tracks, Delta blues guitar, Cajun, and rock & roll, and even more modern styles with members of k.d. lang's band and Los Lobos's Steve Berlin joining in. The A&R guys probably would have killed to make this CD an exercise in reverent nostalgia -- "Do You Know What It Means to Miss Orleans" is the closest thing to it -- but a track like "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" with its touch of hip-hop in the rhythm, electronically limited guitar, and strings doesn't sound nostalgic in the least. "Gone Fishin'" is an affectionate, extended Alan Paul/Tim Hauser takeoff on the easygoing rapport between Armstrong and Bing Crosby on their duet version, wisely leaving the funny topical references to the original. "Nothing Could Be Hotter Than That" has some trademark Cheryl Bentyne high-wire vocalese. And to end the album, a normally warm and cozy tune like "When You Wish Upon a Star" opens and closes with a spacy electronic arrangement, with harmonies that thankfully undercut the sweetness, transforming the tune. Louis Armstrong wouldn't have recognized this "tribute," but his younger self probably would have hailed the Transfer's renewed moxie and experimental spirit.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/10/2000
  • Label: Warner Bros Mod Afw
  • UPC: 075678339424
  • Catalog Number: 83394
  • Sales rank: 123,529

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Manhattan Transfer Primary Artist
Jon Hassell Trumpet
Plas Johnson Saxophone
Janis Siegel Vocals
David Torn Guitar, Loops
Steve Berlin Saxophone
Teddy Borowiecki Organ, Accordion, Pump Organ
Chris Bruce Guitar
David Campbell Viola
Jon Clarke Clarinet, Saxophone, Woodwind
Larry Corbett Cello
Joel Derouin Violin
Tim Hauser Vocals
Greg Leisz Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar
Alan Paul Vocals
David Piltch Bass
John Rotella Clarinet
Patrick Warren chamberlain, Marxophone
Rachel Purkin Violin
Abe Laboriel Jr. Drums, Loops
Michele Richards Violin
Technical Credits
Janis Siegel Vocal Arrangements
David Torn Orchestration
Jimmy McHugh Composer
Corey Allen Vocal Arrangements
Teddy Borowiecki Orchestration
Chris Bruce Arranger
Greg Calbi Mastering
David Campbell Orchestration, Vocal Arrangements
Eddie DeLange Composer
Dorothy Fields Composer
Oscar Hammerstein II Composer
Jimmie Haskell Arranger
Bert Kalmar Composer
Charles F. Kenny Composer
Greg Leisz Arranger
Alan Paul Vocal Arrangements
David Piltch Orchestration
Emil Richards Vibe Master
Harry Ruby Composer
Craig Street Producer
Stewart Whitmore Digital Editing
Roger Treece Arranger, Vocal Arrangements
Benjamin Niles Art Direction
S. "Husky" Hoskulds Engineer
Louis Alter Composer
Chris Pyle Illustrations
Richard Barron Engineer
Abe Laboriel Jr. Orchestration
Nick Kenny Composer
Lil Hardin Armstrong Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The best vocal album of the year

    A giant artistic leap for the premier vocal group of the modern recording era. Raw and vital and emotional -- there's nothing slick here, and it works beautifully. They have never sounded better -- collectively or individually. Easily their best record since ''Vocalese'' and maybe their best album ever.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews