168

Cheryl Bentyne: The Gershwin Songbook

Larry Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Cheryl Bentyne's The Gershwin Songbook is among the best vocal albums of 2010. A member of The Manhattan Transfer since 1979, she frequently strikes out on her own to record, and has released eight albums in the past two decades.

Perfecting her talent in vocalese with The Manhattan Transfer, Bentyne performs jazz choruses with a pitch-perfect soprano in the tradition of Annie Ross, by way of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. In this set of 15 Gershwin classics, she gets many opportunities to show her vocal dexterity; excelling in all contexts, swinging for sure, and sensitive to every nuance of the lyrics.

Pianist Corey Allen is essential to the album's success. Along with another pianist, Ted Howe, he turns out delightfully creative arrangements that are not "by the book" interpretations.

The guest artists are also big factors in giving the recording its distinctive flavor: impeccable clarinetist Ken Peplowski, who shines throughout; flautist Peter Gordon; and guitarist Larry Koonse, in particular a standout on rhythm guitar.

Appropriate to the Gershwins, things start with Peplowski's clarinet introduction to "Fascinating Rhythm" echoing "Rhapsody in Blue," evolving into a breakneck scat duet with Bentyne before drummer Dave Tull heralds a transition to "I Got Rhythm."After a dazzling cadenza on "Lady Be Good," Peplowski gives a virtuoso display, backed by a romping piano. Bentyne also really shows her straight-ahead jazz chops.

Bentyne is soft and seductive on "I've Got A Crush on You," with Koonse's sensitive solo also prominent. On "Isn't It a Pity," her shimmering voice is counterpoint to the piano and Tull's background vocal, while "Summertime" is a standout arrangement, with its Gil Evans-like background, Bentyne's vocalese merging with Gordon's flute. A surprising version of "The Man I Love," with rhythm guitar and clarinet that could have come from Django Reinhardt's Hot Club de France, is an upbeat joy. Overall, every track on The Gershwin Songbook is a happy discovery.

Track Listing: Fascinating Rhythm/I Got Rhythm; Love Is Here to Stay; Isn't It A Pity; Summertime; A Foggy Day; Lady Be Good; Someone To Watch Over Me; How Long Has This Been Going On; The Man I Love; I've Got A Crush On You; But Not For Me; Let's Call the Whole Thing Off; Nice Work If You Can Get It; S'Wonderful.

Personnel: Cheryl Bentyne: vocals; Corey Allen: piano; Ted Howe: piano; Kevin Axt: bass; Larry Koonse: guitar: Dave Tull: drums, background vocal; Ken Peplowski: clarinet; Peter Gordon: flute; Mark Winkler: vocalist.

Title: The Gershwin Songbook | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ArtistShare

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Live at I.C.U.U. Album Reviews
Live at I.C.U.U.
By Karl Ackermann
June 16, 2019
Read 789 Miles Album Reviews
789 Miles
By David A. Orthmann
June 16, 2019
Read Follow Me Album Reviews
Follow Me
By Roger Farbey
June 16, 2019
Read You Get What You Give Album Reviews
You Get What You Give
By Ljubinko Zivkovic
June 16, 2019
Read Play The Bird And The Bee Album Reviews
Play The Bird And The Bee
By Dan Bilawsky
June 15, 2019
Read Appleblueseagreen Album Reviews
Appleblueseagreen
By Dan McClenaghan
June 15, 2019
Read The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings Album Reviews
The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings
By Doug Collette
June 15, 2019