Cheryl Bentyne

 Let Me Off Uptown

Cheryl Bentyne, vocals; Jack Sheldon, trumpet; Corey Allen, piano; Kevin Axt, bass; Dave Tull, drums; Grant Geissman, guitar; Larry Koonse, guitar; Lanny Morgan, alto saxophone; Bob McChesney, trombone; Pete Christleib, tenor saxophone

Cheryl Bentyne of Manhattan Transfer takes on a tribute CD to the magnificent, hard-swinging, hard living Anita O'Day, and Cheryl is well up to the job. Opening with "Let Me Off Uptown" there is a feisty fire in the belly, featuring Jack Sheldon (Jazz Now's cover subject July 1993) on trumpet, a great opening.

Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer's "Skylark" is sung with heart and style, with husband Corey Allen backing wistfully on piano, then a skip into "Let's Face the Music and Dance," offering a softer more gentle approach, though there is no let-up in tempo.

"Man with a Horn" again has the velvet glove with the splendid Jack Sheldon on trumpet supporting. "Tea for Two" is at break-neck speed, but Cheryl makes the lyrics sound effortless at this tongue-twisting tempo.

"I Won't Dance" shows what an intelligent musician the lady is. Her timing and ability to hold the line is meticulous and delightful. She is top notch, fulsome and delicious, backed by a group of musicians that keep the faith with timing and quality.

First rate.

 TELARC CD 83606


 Eric Swinderman

Eric Swinderman, guitar; Marty Williams, piano; Ruth Davies, bass; Raul Ramirez, drums; Joyce Grant, vocals; Charles McNeal, saxophone; Wayne Wallace, trombone; Babatunde Lea, percussion

 In Pursuit of the Sound

 Belle Productions

Eric Swinderman opens the set in a relaxed style with his own piece, "Sugar Baby." Sax, trombone, and guitar harmonize effectively with Eric looking for, and getting, that little bit extra.

Things warm up with an earthy rendition of Miles Davis's "All Blues" containing a strong piano from Marty Williams, anxious bickering sax from Charles McNeal, stretchy trombone from Wayne Wallace (who seemed to be standing slightly too far away), and solid walloping from the drum department.

"I Remember Clifford," soloed by Swinderman's sensitive textured playing, is finely toned and moving.

There is only one vocal track, "Speak to Me," a Latin-based tune written and sung by Joyce Grant.

"Recado Bossa Nova" is another guitar solo, a chance for Swinderman to demonstrate his technique in a different style. "The Bandit" is a lively number by Swinderman with good color and drive from the whole ensemble.

The set finishes with the second Miles Davis piece, "Nardis." Swinderman's playing is poignant, calming, and thoughtful with some interesting percussion.

A good, solid mix of a set with excellent combo playing. Swinderman leads by example, a fine guitar player.


  By Ferdinand Maylin  

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