Couldn't Be Hotter Live
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2003 album and debut for Telarc from The Manhattan Transfer, now available at mid-price. The quartet of Tim Hauser, Janis Siegel, Alan Paul and Cheryl Bentyne have combined their voices into an incomparable four-part harmony that has consistently set new standards for vocal music.
Easily the most respected and honoured jazz vocal group since the 1960s heyday of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, The Manhattan Transfer's biggest influence is swing music from the 1930s and 1940s. 'Couldn't Be Hotter' features some of their best-loved hits and the sixteen songs chosen for this special live recording convey the depth of the group's talent and variety of their music. Classic favourites such as "Sing Moten's Swing", "Clouds" and "A-Tisket, A-Tasket", recorded while on tour in Japan, capture the essence of The Manhattan Transfer, and their enthusiasm is evident in these performances.
Top Customer Reviews
There are plenty of standout tracks, but one of my favourites has to be the superb 'Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans'- an arrangement for solo voice and guitar that shows how much can be made from the simplest of materials. Anther prime track is 'Clouds' a reworking of the Django tune 'Nuages', featuring a wonderful ensemble vocal arrangement and standout guitar from Wayne Johnson. So a very good album, if not a great one. The recording quality is excellent, though it does seem a little 'recessed'.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The title track, "Nothing could be hotter than that" is the best single jazz song I have ever heard. Better than Bechet. MT joined with a band that is every bit their equal, and the refreshing, 'new' sound is a joy to hear.
To the album then, which I bought straight afterwards. Pretty much a condensed version of the show - they just left out all the stuff from previous live albums. As a keepsake from the show it is brilliant - takes you right back to the State Theatre. Agree with Glenn, the standout track is "Nothing Could Be Hotter Than That", but the whole set is terrific, showcasing the tight-knit vocal artistry of the group, plus that "everyone is having a ball" feeling. Janis is the star of the show and her rendition of "Stars Fell On Alabama" is spine tingling (wish that one was in the Sydney show!). And don't forget that band - brilliant, tight, punchy.
I thought about taking a star-off though, because I do agree with a couple of the other reviewers that the sound quality really is a bit ordinary - quite muddy in places and lacking depth of image - definitely not an album to use to show off your new million dollar hi-fi system, sadly. Particularly disappointing from Telarc from whom I've come to expect state-of-the-art recordings - what went wrong guys?
The studio albums, Swing and Spirit of St Louis are arguably better technical recordings, but they sound like studio recordings and lack that edge and energy that only comes through in live sets. There is no substitute for being there, so if you missed the concert this is definitely the next best thing, all things considered.
And, at the end of the day it's been the most-played album for me for a long time and I'm still not tired of it, three months and a hundred plays later! How can I not give it five stars! And guys, come back soon!