"I was of the view that "Sing Sing Sing" was the best vocal jazz ensemble c.d. of this millenium, until two things were brought to my attention: 1) "Sing Sing Sing" was released in 2000, which technically was the last millenium; and 2) There's 2006's "Pure Imagination" by Vox One. Really, that's the one (and if you like the vocal jazz ensemble genre and don't have that one, run--don't walk--to wherever you buy c.d.'s and get it now!!).
Nevertheless, the New York Voices are the bomb. There is no better vocal jazz ensemble out there for blasting out tight, accurate harmonies at warp speed and perfect blend. Listen to what they do here to Annie Ross' "Jackie", for example--it's a wowser, on the order of "Don't Be That Way" from "Sing Sing Sing." Or check out their lovely bossa on "Chamengo"--this one will have you dancing around the room in nothing flat. And I just love their a capella treatment of "Stoned Soul Picnic"--way more than the original famous version by The Fifth Dimension.
Unlike "Sing Sing Sing", however, this c.d. is an eclectic olio, which basically proves that the NYV can knock you out in just about any kind of style. But I already knew that about them. I prefer c.d.'s with a theme--e.g., "Sing Sing Sing" and "Sings the Songs of Paul Simon."
Down Beat recently rated this c.d. at 3 stars. Down Beat is notoriously hard on jazz singers; but their biggest knock on this c.d. generally and on the New York Voices specifically is that, for as great as they are at vocal harmony, they don't really have a topflight soloist.
I've disagreed with that observation before, and I'll disagree again, at least to this extent:
Kim Nazarian and Lauren Kinhan are great singers, but I would grant you that Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne of the Manhattan Transfer are better solo singers. (And given that those two are two of the best solo singers in the world, there's no shame in saying so!) Peter Eldridge has a gorgeous lower register in his voice, and if he'd stay there he could become another Billy Eckstine or Earl Coleman. But he does sound like an ensemble singer in his upper register.
But Darmon Meador is just tremendous. The best cut on this c.d. (IMO) is "On a Clear Day", and that's because of Meador's scat solo. The second best cut (again, IMO) is the title track, and again, Mr. Meador is the featured soloist.
I think that, just as Nash D'Ville features Laurie Wheeler, the New York Voices should consider not being so democratic on solos, but instead feature Darmon Meador. He's that good.
Overall, 5 stars if you love it, says Amazon.com, and I love it. I recommend it; but if you are not familiar with The New York Voices, I recommend you buy "Sing Sing Sing" or "Sings the Songs of Paul Simon" first. There are some great moments on this c.d.; but there are more great moments on those. RC"
GREAT new album from NYV/MCG!!!
P. Falk | Colorado, USA | 09/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album captures all the energy and imagination from one of the most talented groups on the planet. On this album is everything from new treatments of jazz standards to pop/r&b covers and original tunes. Particular favorites include Kinhan's original "The World Keeps you Waiting", solo piano/4 voice "For all we Know", "No Moon at All" and the cool arrangement of In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. This is required listening for any serious jazz/vocal group fan. You'll dig it! It will live in my CD player for quite some time to come :)"
Some got it and some don't. This group's got it.
C. Harris | Oakland, CA USA | 09/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the only CD by the NEW YORK VOICES that I own. I purchased it because I just love their harmony and the arrangement of "Stoned Soul Picnic." This is a superb group."
Exceeded my very high expectations
Sharp11Girl | Los Angeles, CA | 03/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this group, and I love this CD. Even the songs I thought I didn't like so much at first (mostly the originals) I now love. I sing and arrange vocal jazz myself, and to do what NYV has done on this album takes talent and dedication. Noteworthy musical events on this CD include: Darmon's scat on On A Clear Day, Kim's lead vocal on Jackie, the arrangement of Darn That Dream, Noticing the Moment (great play on words from the original, Moment's Notice) , and the harmony on the chorus of The World Keeps You Waiting is just so elegant. The only song I regularly skip is Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing - it's ok, but there's nothing really great about that track. The rest of the CD more than makes up for that, and it is fully worth the purchase price if you are a fan of jazz and/or vocal harmony."