Everything glowing that other reviewers have said about this performance is mostly true. I would have given it 5 stars if not for a problem with the recording, and it's a bad enough problem that I hesitate giving it even 3 stars. It's her vocals, which are obviously the centerpiece of the disc.
Don't get me wrong - she sings these songs wonderfully. But the recording of her voice is problematic. It buzzes very slightly, particularly when she puts a little oomph into it or reaches for the higher register notes. It's not hugely distorted, but it's enough to catch your ear and make you wonder if you're really hearing what you think you're hearing. The effect is comparable to making her voice just a little bit fuzzy around the edges and stands in stark and striking contrast to the finely detailed recording of the accompanying musicians. On my first listening, I was afraid the problem was in my equipment, that my home listening room speakers had been damaged somehow. Now, after...
Krall and Monheit just don't do it for me any more, and all of the Eva Cassidy-inspired eclectics take me too far away from the best of the American Songbook and the "beat" that only first-rate rhythm sections can provide. I could remain perfectly content in my Ella-Billie time capsule, I suppose, but one hopes for some occasional affirmation of the present moment, not to mention hope for my new granddaughter.
Enter Cheryl Bentyne, an unforced, unproduced, and "natural" musician who's got the best of the repertory in her pocket and, rhythmically, is always right "in the pocket."
At first, Cheryl's voice is likely to strike a casual listener as "plain" and just unsexy. No Krall sultriness or Monheit melodrama--hers is a voice devoid of breathiness and emotive, coloratura effects. In fact, a great deal of its charm is its refusal to change its identity from the ensemble sound so essential to her effectiveness as a member of Manhattan Transfer. I'm getting no...
Finally! Bentyne released her first solo album, the excellent if somewhat unusual, "Something Cool" in 1992. Twelve years later she has released her second, "Talk Of The Town," and it was well worth the wait. Bentyne eschews the histrionic performance in favor of more intimate readings. Her voice is gorgeous and she breathes new life into songs that have been recorded often. Her versions of the ballads, "The Very Thought Of You," and "These Foolish Things" are excellent. "The Meaning Of The Blues" is a duet with pianist Kenny Barron and it's of the best recordings of the song I have ever heard. Her swinging take of "Love Me Or Leave Me" is reminiscent of Nina Simone's version but infused with a sexy attitude. With the opening track, "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To " the mood is set for the next twelve cuts and not one of them disappoint. Let's hope Telarc signs her on for more albums so we don't have to wait another twelve years to enjoy this amazing singer.
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