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Talk of the Town

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Album Review

Cheryl Bentyne is justly celebrated for her work as the soprano voice in Manhattan Transfer, but her work outside of that ensemble is just as impressive, if sometimes less flashy. This solo album, in fact, is notable for its lack of pyrotechnical wizardry, and is all the stronger for it. Focusing almost exclusively on standards, Talk of the Town finds Bentyne singing with an almost Ella Fitzgerald-like transparency, imposing little of her own ego on the material and avoiding heavy-handed interpretation. This is not to say that she sings without personality or style — simply that she sings like someone who wants to showcase the songs themselves rather than her own artistry. The result is quietly spectacular: on straightforwardly melodic fare like Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" and the classic ballad "These Foolish Things," the songs are like jewels in simple but lush settings; on more difficult numbers, such as "Little Butterfly" (which consists of lyrics by Jon Hendricks set to the Thelonious Monk composition "Pannonica"), she negotiates the tricky changes with grace and deceptive ease. Bentyne's voice sounds the way a warm shower feels. Very highly recommended.


Born: January 17, 1950 in Mount Vernon, WA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A member of the Manhattan Transfer beginning in 1979, Cheryl Bentyne's beautiful voice, wide range, versatility, and impressive stage presence made her into a major asset for the popular vocal group from the start. Her father was a clarinetist who led a Dixieland band, and Bentyne sang swing music with his group while in high school. She was the lead singer with the New Deal Rhythm Band (a swing-oriented band) for four years and then in 1979 replaced Laurel Masse with the Manhattan Transfer. In...
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Talk of the Town, Cheryl Bentyne
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