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Cheryl Bentyne review at Jazzreview.com

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  • Tobias Reid
    Found this one at Jazzreview.com http://www.jazzreview.com/cd/review-16523.html Featured Artist: Cheryl Bentyne CD Title: Let Me Off Uptown Year: 2005 Record
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2 3:10 PM
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      Found this one at Jazzreview.com
      http://www.jazzreview.com/cd/review-16523.html

      Featured Artist: Cheryl Bentyne

      CD Title: Let Me Off Uptown

      Year: 2005

      Record Label: Telarc

      Style: Jazz Vocals

      Musicians: Cheryl Bentyne (vocals); Jack Sheldon
      (trumpet); Bob McChesney (trombone); Lanny Morgan
      (alto saxophone); Pete Chrislieb (tenor saxophone);
      Grant Geissman, Larry Koonse (guitar); Corey Allen
      (piano, keyboards); Kevin Axt (bass); Dave Tull
      (drums); The Mighty Little Big Horns

      Review: Usually, tribute albums originate from a
      devoted artist, such as Tierney Sutton�s Blue In Green
      dedicated to Bill Evans. But that�s not the case for
      Cheryl Bentyne�s Let Me Off Uptown, which re-creates
      the indomitable spirit of but a few of the songs in
      Anita O�Day�s huge discography.

      Instead, Bentyne�s manager, Bill Traut, suggested the
      concept because, having played saxophone for O�Day in
      the 1940�s, he perceptively noticed the similarity
      between O�Day�s and Bentyne�s voices. And as one
      listens to Let Me Off Uptown, the similarity that
      Traut perceived becomes apparent, especially when
      Bentyne sings to husband/producer/pianist Corey
      Allen�s arrangements for the rhythm section, which
      recall those of O�Day�s original recordings. Having
      listened to hours of O�Day�s recordings, Bentyne nails
      not only the legendary singer�s voice, but also her
      spirit. Always an iconoclast, which is to say an
      original, O�Day always chose the road less taken,
      sometimes to her regret, but her sense of fun tinged
      with awareness of, but never immersion in, sadness was
      evident. So it is with Bentyne�s versions of O�Day
      classic recordings.

      A good place to start, I thought, would be �Tea For
      Two,� which O�Day compared to a horserace, as she did
      her work on the competitive album with Oscar Peterson,
      Anita Sings The Most. Vertiginous in its daring, and
      certainly to be regarded as one of the classic vocal
      improvisations in jazz, O�Day�s version of the
      often-performed song was a transformation as O�Day
      aggressively pushed the beat and then fell behind,
      only to cross the finish line at the same time as her
      trio during her famous performance at Mr. Kelly�s in
      Chicago. And what do you know? Bentyne not only has
      studied the technique, but also has absorbed the
      feeling of �Anita Colton� as O�Day formed from the old
      one�similar in that respect to �Moody�s Mood For Love�
      formed from �I�m In The Mood For Love��as she no doubt
      teased her group to keep up by throwing them off base
      with her improvisational prowess. Allen, as devoted as
      she to the uniqueness of O�Day, does more than keep
      up; he pushes Bentyne in their elasticity of metrical
      give and take. Indeed, I daresay that Allen�s solo in
      the middle of the track surpasses that of Joe Masters�
      in the live recording, perhaps for that very reason:
      that Masters� solo was played before an audience as
      one of many fleeting performances without the
      realization that it would become part of an
      unforgettable recording.

      Bentyne covers representative songs from the beginning
      of O�Day�s career through much of her Verve recordings
      produced by Norman Granz. Appropriately, the CD starts
      with one of O�Day�s earliest hits with the Gene Krupa
      Orchestra, �Let Me Off Uptown.� In place of the great
      Roy Eldridge, though, a more than suitable
      replacement, to say the last, takes his place: Jack
      Sheldon, who has performed often with O�Day. Sheldon�s
      a perfect choice for the number, for not only can he
      �blow,� but also he can indulge in the repartee that
      contributed to the song�s success in the first place.
      �Man with a Horn� includes Sheldon as well, as he not
      just accompanies, but comments on, the words that
      Bentyne sings, as does Benny Golson�s �Whisper Not,�
      on which the muted Eldridge again joined O�Day with
      The Three Sounds (which included Gene Harris).

      But Let Me Off Uptown contains additional delights
      throughout the CD, not the least of which are Bill
      Holman�s arrangements for the Mighty Little Big Horns,
      which suggest the power of a big band on songs like
      Krupa�s �Boogie Blues,� another O�Day hit, or Russ
      Garcia�s arrangement of O�Day�s own song, �Waiter,
      Make Mine The Blues.� Plus, Allen�s arrangements,
      though based on the originals, add sparkle and
      freshness to the tribute, such as his addition of the
      �Intermission Riff� vamp on �Pick Yourself Up,� a sly
      reference to O�Day�s relatively short tenure with Stan
      Kenton�s Orchestra.

      Oddly, though O�Day is alive and well and living near
      Los Angeles where Let Me Off Uptown was recorded, the
      only photograph of her in the liner notes is the front
      cover of her autobiography. Although the jazz vocal
      legend is as mercurial as ever, a group photograph,
      not to mention a duet, with O�Day would have been the
      icing on the cake.


      Tracks: Let Me Off Uptown, Pick Yourself Up,
      Honeysuckle Rose, Skylark, Let�s Face The Music And
      Dance, Man With A Horn, Boogie Blues, It Shouldn�t
      Happen To A Dream, Whisper Not, Tea For Two, Little
      Girl Blue, I Won�t Dance, Waiter Make Mine Blues


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