All of the Manhattan Transfer's albums are laden with nostalgia, but few work as well as a time machine as Swing. This disc collects 13 classics from the swing era, from "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" to "Skyliner." All recall the p... more »ast with the immediacy of a Burma Shave sign would. The Transfer felt the desire to recruit such talents as Ray Brown, Stephane Grappelli, Asleep at the Wheel, Ricky Skaggs, and Mark O'Connor this time out. The country contributions make these swing classics add interest to these covers, making this a Transfer CD that bears repeated listenings. --Charles R. Cross« less
All of the Manhattan Transfer's albums are laden with nostalgia, but few work as well as a time machine as Swing. This disc collects 13 classics from the swing era, from "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" to "Skyliner." All recall the past with the immediacy of a Burma Shave sign would. The Transfer felt the desire to recruit such talents as Ray Brown, Stephane Grappelli, Asleep at the Wheel, Ricky Skaggs, and Mark O'Connor this time out. The country contributions make these swing classics add interest to these covers, making this a Transfer CD that bears repeated listenings. --Charles R. Cross
Linda C. from CRESCENT CITY, CA Reviewed on 11/12/2006...
0 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
The real thing, the real swing, it belongs in every home!
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 12/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Too often vocal groups attempting swing get too cutsy, and tend to emphasize the pop aspects of Swing. This is not that.
This is the vocalese heirs of Lambert Hendricks and Ross blowing hard with their singing on all of these swing tunes as a great vocalese group. They mimick the arrangements, or create their new ones in the ensemble singing here.
If that isn't enough they have not the usual studio groups that accompany them, but a bunch of Swing stars and neoswingers accompanying them. My favorite here is Stephen Grappelli who does some nice work here. No less than Mark O'Conner, the great classical and bluegrass fiddler and composer, and Buddy Emmons join the Transfer for a live cut. It is also interesting that Ricky Scaggs does a lot of the rhythm guitar playing on this CD.
Of course, my friends in Asleep at the Wheel who would be terrific if they presented themselves as a jazz group, add an excitement I adore. On most selections, Asleep at the Wheel provides the basic band along with the Transfer's rhythm section. They also add to the harmony of the Transfer in several places. If you are a deep ASAW fan, you will be happy to know that this CD was made when the great Cindy Cashdollar was still with the band. She does some very nice fills and obligatoes on a number of the slower tunes. Working with the Transfer adds just like working with any good soloist or combo does.
If you are into chord rhythm guitar playing, a sometimes lost and forgotten art, you will delight in the standout work that is done on every cut of this album. Myself, I am thrilled with the work that Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel does on the selections he plays on. In the Wheel he usually ends up having to carry a big burden of both the singing and solo work, or is playing the kind leads and fills that typify Western Swing. Here, on the selections with Asleep at the Wheel, Ray is often the only guitarist, but creates a wonderful solid rhythm that matches what comes on other cuts where there are several guitarists.
The Transfer is not just a group that does a cute trick singing words to Jazz solos, but important improvisers, arrangers and soloists in their own right. They add somethign new musically, not just vocally!
All in all, this is about 500 times more swinging and useful than all the sad, pretentious, unswinging and musically ignorant neoswing that got served up in the 1990s.
This is the real thing, the real swing"
....definitely worth the wait!
loe601 | Hendersonville, NC, USA | 09/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been an enthusiastic fan of the Manhattan Transfer since I first heard them in 1985, and own all but one of their many recordings.Recently, I stood in line at the fabulous Biltmore Estate for three hours to get a first come, first serve front row center seat for their outdoor show there. Their swinging, happy-go-lucky rendition of "A-Tisket-A-Tasket" from this great CD alone was worth the wait.That cut, plus the incomparably dreamy "Clouds" with its Stephane Grappelli solo, and smoothly blended teamwork with Asleep At the Wheel on the smokin' "Choo-Choo Ch-Boogie" make this a not-to-be-passed-up CD for any lover of swing. This is simply unmatched harmonious vocals and get-your-body-moving swing."
These Four JUST SING GOOD!
John Cudrik | Gainesville,Florida. | 02/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...In this cd, Manhattan transfer continue with a great history of blending voices they began back in 1975--yes, 75! They have a knack of picking songs in which you can hear all the words, and also put in some EMOTION--listen to "I Know Why" on this cd as an example...Yes, the M.T. were 'ahead of their time', swing-music wise,but their songs for the most part are "standards" sung in a new way--from this cd, the song "Topsy" is a great example of what MT is about--they're JAZZ SINGERS,they use their VOICES to emulate the various jazz instruments(clarinet,etc.)and DO IT VERY WELL---They have possibly the best VOICES of any Pop group in the past 30 years--You can't go wrong with this cd if you like vocals and like Jazz..."
Great Swingin' Stuff
Kim K. | Bayonne, New Jersey | 04/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this album & love everything Manhattan Transfer has done so far. I remember their summer replacement tv show back in '74 & was impressed with them from that moment on. Started collecting their albums & enjoying every one of them. Now this album they're joined by another fave band of mine, Asleep At The Wheel-no slouches themselves when it comes to swing music. These 2 groups do great versions of Java Jive, Molten Swing & A-Tisket-A-Tasket, but every song here is golden. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys great music."
"HARD SWINGING, JIVE SINGING"
RBSProds | Deep in the heart of Texas | 10/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five DELIGHTFUL Stars. The Manhattan Transfer is amazing and this CD shows why, in many compelling ways. MT fans, as well as vocalese fans of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross/Bavan, the Double Six of Paris, the Swingle Singers, and New York Voices will LOVE this CD. It's just plain fun to listen to, over and over. Janis, Cheryl, Tim and Alan are ridiculously talented vocalists and swing meisters. I love the way they jump into a track at full tilt, like a hot needle hitting a vinyl record's first track, with no buildup. And don't let the song selection fool you, it's all currently and timelessly rendered, at the same time. It's Great!
My favorite 'Pieces D'Resistance' are: a jumping "Motem Swing", an Ella-licious "A Tisket, a Tasket", the beautiful Alan Paul ballad "I Know Why (And So Do You)", a totally wild "Down South Camp Meeting", a poignant "Skyliner" with it's stair-step harmonies, an insane "Topsy", and "It's Good Enough To Keep" (Air Mail Special) which more than lives up to it's title. "Cho Cho Boogie" is recorded live and the group is on fire.
But Belgian jazz master Django Reihhardt's "Nuages" ("Clouds", in French) is the big number for me. Taken at a loping pace with great unison harmonies, it has a sizzling surprise appearance by Reinhardt associate, the late violinist Stephane Grapelli, in what must have been one of his last recorded appearances. 80'ish Grapelli's technical facility is so touching, so convoluted, and 'dead on' that it literally shrinks time and takes us back to the 'Hot Club' days. The gypsy guitarist is a direct musical descendant of Django, Stochelo Rosenberg, who is on fire. The deep harmonics are absolutely beautifully rendered. And Janis' solo is great and humorous. "Nuages" has to be one of the most beautiful jazz ballads ever written, along with Monk's "'Round Midnight" and JJ Johnson's "Enigma".
Kudos are owed, bigtime, to Tim Hauser for his production, the group 'Asleep At The Wheel', pianist/arranger Yaron Gershovsky (whose fingerprints are everywhere on this CD), and every swing-era big band that ever hit the road for endless tours of one-night stands across the world. Five SWINGING Stars!!!!! (Audio CD)"