New York Voices

Reminiscing in Tempo

origin 82784

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Dr. Debra Jan Bibel, Amazon

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Jazz vocal ensembles have a long history [recall the Mills Brothers of the 1930's, the Hi-Lo's quartet of the 1950s, Lamberts, Hendricks & Ross of the 1960s, and the Swingle Singers of the 1970s) and several are still active. While Manhattan Transfer continues in its second edition, the New York Voices, founded 30 years ago, continues largely intact. Their initial popularity was in the 1990s, and over the ensuing decades they recorded with big bands or in support of other artists. Now, New York Voices returns with a solo album rich in harmony and diverse in selections, from Dave Brubeck to the Beatles, from Fred Hersch to Ivan Lins and Cuban classical composer Ignacio Cervantes. Two pieces are originals. Sometimes they sing a cappella, other tracks include a large studio band of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, guitar, drums and percussion, bass, piano and Rhodes. Arrangements are the key to success and, led by Director Darmon Meader, the group's musical ideas make an exciting production. They have a running start with Blue Rondo á la Turk and Al Jarreau's lyrics, followed by Chick Corea and Neville Potter's soulful Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly. Member Peter Eldridge translated Lins' lyrics of É De Deus, which also sees double duty by Darmon Meader in saxophone solo. Later, after an upbeat rendition of a Cole Porter classic, the album title work by Duke Ellington with Mel Tormé's lyrics settles into a relaxed mode and a fine piano solo. The two classical selections of Cervantes [1847-1905] are atypical, and more akin to the Swingles, but the Cuban dances are nice digression. In My Life, the Lennon-McCartney hit, concludes the album, sung very slowly as a hymn. The quartet each have additional careers as vocal educators at Berkelee College of Music, Ithaca College, Bowling Green State University, Indiana University, and the New School (New York City). Their return to a solo album, one so masterly and varied, is a happy occasion.






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