Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Rock, Broadway & Vocalists
"Let's try a little of EVERYthing..."
J. Collins | 05/09/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Manhattan Transfer didn't have it so easy back in '78 when this album was released. True, they had at least one Gold album, a short-lived Summer replacement series on TV, and a history of shattering attendance records at various venues on tour. But as a Pop (or even Jazz) vocal group with these impressive credentials, they were still a Pop (or Jazz) group that was expected to "sell" each new record Atlantic released. And though the early albums DID sell, the numbers here in the group's native US were not impressive.Though MT now has the distinction of being talented (or exceptional) in several musical genres, in '78 most people still thought of them as an "oldies" act...or worse. Critics who were charmed by the debut album's sincerity and enthusiasm came to regard MT as a curious, and somehow hollow Pop entity. Though various vocal interpretations/performances were praised on this album and those preceding, the albums themselves were seldom lauded. "Pastiche" was, unfortunately, also a commercial disappointment.The American view of the group as a novelty or "nostalgia" act wasn't exactly shared by fans abroad. MT had hits in France and the UK among other countries in Europe, and also created a huge following in Japan. The tour for "Pastiche" produced their first live album (also in '78, but of out print; possibly released briefly on a Japanese CD), which was Laurel Masse's final recording with MT. The recorded concerts from shows in the UK were a smash success, but again, the album was largely ignored in the States, despite an audiophile vinyl version sold by Mobile Fidelity Labs.In some wasy, "Pastiche" bears the signs of desperation. Several of the songs covered ("A Little Street In Singapore," "Love For Sale," "Where Did Our Love Go") were a bit too obvious, in the sense that MT (and especially Tim Hauser) had an ear for obscure but wonderful oldies. As such, though these songs are technically flawless, they come off as studied perfection...or just bland. On the other hand, there are some fantastic tunes here....music that would make a cynic tap his foot and want to sing along.Jimmy Guiffre's "Four Brothers" packed a vocal wallop that woke the critics and Jazz naysayers from their attitudes. "Je Voulais" marked one of Laurel's most incredible solos with the group, just as Janis grabbed hold of "In A Mellow Tone," albeit in deference to Ella Fitzgerald.The ensemble vocals on Rupert Holmes' "Who What When Where Why" are gloriously interwoven; one wonders why this wasn't a huge dance club hit with its' big bass drum and dynamic arrangement. Janis steals "It's Not The Spotlight" from several notable vocalists (Kim Carnes among them), and Tim gets to display his crooner's charm with "Pieces of Dreams." There are other memorable performances here, and overall the album is a satisfying, enjoyable listen.As a musical "postcard" from the final days of MT's relative obscurity (that is, before "Extensions" brought them commercial and critical benefits), this is a recording that tries to integrate Pop, Rock, and Jazz, with tone-perfect "standards," ready-made modern hits and a helluva lot in between. It may not cover all the bases successfully, but you have only to hear it to appreciate the effort involved, and the joy of these vocal presences.-Mic"
Be-Bop, Standards, Country and Then Some!
KRA | East End of LI | 06/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For you Man-Tran fans out there who do not have this CD, now is a great time to buy it, as their first live album (from'78) is being re-released on CD. That live album was from the "Pastiche" tour, and features some of the tracks, BUT not all of them.
This album had the group showing their versatility, and it came at the point in their career's where they needed to show everyone that they were here to stay (and not just a nostaglia act). "Four Brothers" is a vocal tour de force, and "On a Little Street In Singapore" showcased their tight vocal harmonies and Alan Paul's sexy delivery. Alan's read of "Calico"
showed that the group still had it's feel for whimsy, and that the retro sound could be from any type of musical genre.
This release was Laurel Masse's final studio work with the group, and her solo of Je Voulais is stunning.
Pastiche is an often overlooked work that should be part of any Man-Tran collection.
Laurel Masse's voice is stunning!
J. D. Ovink | Eastern Washington | 02/04/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Masse's French evokes the finest French torch singers. Where is she now and is she singing? TMT has not been the same since she left. I still love them, but their direction has definitely got the influence of the vocal gymnast they got to replace her. Janis, of course, shines wherever she goes!"