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Live Reviews

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival: Day Three, November 27, 2010

By Published: December 14, 2010
Saturday night's headliners The Manhattan Transfer—Tim Hauser, Alan Paul, Janis Siegel
Janis Siegel
Janis Siegel
b.1952
vocalist
and Cheryl Bentyne
Cheryl Bentyne
Cheryl Bentyne
b.1954
vocalist
—won the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Grammy Award for Brasil (Atlantic, 1987), a thematic piece which featured two tunes written by Thursday night's Riviera Maya Festival headliner Ivan Lins
Ivan Lins
Ivan Lins
b.1945
keyboard
. Manhattan Transfer performed several tunes from its Chick Corea Songbook (Four Quarters, 2009), including an opening hip-hop bounce through "Spain" and majestic flight through "500 Miles High," in a set filled with vocal and instrumental classics from the American jazz and pop songbooks.

"There are a few challenges to doing the music of Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
live," Siegel said prior to their performance. "The music is very complex harmonically—and rhythmically, as we found out—and it's very challenging to duplicate that every night. It's the kind of challenge we love, though."

Smooth, almost creamy, harmonies in "Route 66" opened up the swing section of Manhattan Transfer's show. The quartet's vocal take on Count Basie
Count Basie
Count Basie
1904 - 1984
piano
's "Steadier Ground" featured the accompanists' boogie piano and early rock, Bill Haley guitar sound; its Grammy-winning vocalese version of Freddie Green
Freddie Green
Freddie Green
1911 - 1987
guitar, acoustic
's "Corner Pocket" (for the Basie band) was as jazzy as "Ground" was bluesy. "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" rendered Manhattan Transfer's adoring homage to Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
1917 - 1996
vocalist
, and Siegel sang Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
trumpet
's trumpet solos in "Stompin' at Mahogany Hall." After a luscious, dreamy version of The Rascals' "Groovin,'" hits such as "Boy from New York City" and "Birdland" poured out like single-malt scotch from a crystal tumbler.

Another highlight (if not surprise) of Manhattan Transfer's headline set was its performance of lyrics that Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
b.1921
vocalist
wrote for "Tutu," the song that Marcus Miller
Marcus Miller
Marcus Miller
b.1959
bass, electric
wrote as the title track for Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
' 1986 Warner Bros. album that honored the South African bishop.

Thanks to the Riviera Maya, Mahekal Beach Resort, Mamita's Beach Club, and Turner PR, for their assistance with this article.

Photo Credit

All Photos: Chris M. Slawecki

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4


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