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When a group like the Manhattan Brothers is this well known among its primary audience, and its career has been amply documented through several media, what else is there to say? Perhaps not much to said audiences, but their music, as represented in the collection The Very Best of The Manhattan Brothers, should also be quite a treat for those unfamiliar with their delicious brand of singing, swinging arrangements and performances. It is to those untried into the enjoyment that they produce that these words of invitation are extended.
This compilation of hits from the Manhattan Brothers has true historical importance. Herein, for example, you will find the first recordings of Miriam Makeba. These recordings also document paramount musical developments in South Africa of vast consequence within and beyond their immediate geographical, social, economic and cultural contexts. The productions of The Manhattan Brothers were conduits for the reinterpretation of several North American and African popular and traditional musical expressions such as ragtime, jive, swing, doo-wop, several jazz strains, Marabi, as well as, choral and Zulu harmonic and melodic concepts. They also figure prominently in the progress of figures such as Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim.
When all is said and done, and much else could be said and done when dealing with the Manhattan Brothers, the music in this album is what matters. Herein you have fun tunes with marvelous musicians that pack a wallop with their precise soloing and judicious support. They were the type of group that would get your head bopping and your feet tapping and stomping, whether you wanted to or not. This compilation has no fillers and it leaves you feeling good. It is an album worth having that features songs in English and African languages with a welcomed salutary effect supported by extensive and first-rate liner notes.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.