"I've been listening to an advance of "The Spirit of St. Louis" for weeks, and think it is the best vocal album of the year -- if not in ages. Raw, impassioned, and exciting performances -- both invidually and collectively -- make this the best Manhattan Transfer album since "Vocalese", if not the best of their long career. Producer Craig Street and the incredible musicians strip away all the gloss and reveal the luster of 4 great singers. The songs may be from the Louis Armstrong canon, but the Transfer give original and indelible interpretations they make their own. There's not a bad track in the bunch. Longtime fans may be put off -- but the adventurous, and the uninitiated, will find this to be a classic."
One of their best
James C. Springer | Lisle, IL USA | 12/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with this title's reviewer here when he states "The result is arguably the Transfer's best album in a decade, one that fuses their impeccable vocal perfectionism to Armstrong's still vibrant and soulful legacy. The result is anything but a cliché."This is easily their best work since the one-two punch of Vocalese/Brasil, which, ironically another reviewer here denigrates by saying about it "look how devoted we are to jazz arcana." (The first time I EVER heard that nay saying about the Vocalese outing. And probably about as untrue as could possibly be.) Why this release is getting brickbats is beyond me. I've been a fan of the group since 1980 ... I consider myself fairly objective. A highly regarded release here, Swing, I find somewhat disappointed by as a counter-example. People speak of the "sound" of St. Louis, but I found the "westernized-swing" sound of Swing disconcerting. Granted, I've warmed up to that one, but the top 3 TMT albums in my book are easily Vocalese, Brasil, The Spirit Of St. Louis.This is a wonderful outing and I really think the dissenters should have another listen or three Louis Armstrong had such a large body of work and I believe the Transfer touches on many aspects of it ... it IS a wonderful tribute.Jim"
Save Your Money - Don't Buy This
platinumox | San Francisco, CA USA | 11/11/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This album is awful. And I really like Manhattan Transfer. The Spirit of Louis Armstrong has been turned into a dirge in some places (When You Wish Upon A Star), a hokey high school production in other places (Gone Fishing) and a mish mash of musical styles that just don't work well together (Sugar)-- what's with the whispering and hints at techno? Besides betraying their own musicality, in this album the group has betrayed the lyric wonderful qualities of the Armstrong standards they wanted to honor. Instead of breathing new life into the songs with great new interpretations, the tracks on this album are jarring experiments that will make you want to rip the CD from its player. This is a total shame since the group's voices are holding up well over time. The vocals are clear and they offer glimpses of blending together well but the arrangements and production values [stink]. Your best bet is to wait until the Manhattan Transfer fires the awful producer who totally botched this album and produces a new CD worthy of their talent."
Longtime Manhattan Transfer fan
Lawrence W. Neumann | 11/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Obviously, there is a lot of controversy about this latest effort from TMT. As someone who has been a fan of the group since their summer replacement TV show back in the mid-70's and owns all of their albums, I would suggest the following: Listen to this one at least three or four times before passing judgment. At the end of the day, I think most TMT fans will find something to like about this effort. For one thing, the songs themselves are good. And in spite of the rather unusual arrangements and some really offbeat instruments on few of the cuts, you still have four wonderful voices that blend together in a truly special way. I appreciate their willingness to try a little something different. It helps keep their music fresh."
Lawrence W. Neumann | St. Louis, MO | 12/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just when you think they have done it all, they do it all again.
The Manhattan Transfer is priceless. There is no one in the whole world like them. Unlimited energy and creativity. They tour and they record, and they get better every year. Tim Hauser is a musical genius. To have found Janis Siegel, Alan Paul and Cheryl Bentyne in a single generation and created a style that respects all of their talents is truly a work of art. They exude a modern sense of life that is pure happiness. In the words of a philosopher, they have owned their own lives and spent them growing. Please buy this CD and everything else they have ever done. You will thank me."