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December 23, 2003

Downbeat

Virtually dormant as a studio group for almost four years, the Manhattan Transfer has inked a three-album contract with Telarc and will venture into the studio at the beginning of 2004. The quartet joins its female vocalists, Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne, who have solo deals with Telarc. The live Transfer album Couldn't Be Hotter came out in September, albums by Bentyne and Siegel are due in January and March respectively, and a surround sound studio date by the group is slated for release next August.

A Telarc artist since 2001. Siegel's latest project is a set of Broadway tunes arranged by Gil Goldstein. Though her choice of composers are familiar--Sondheim, Berlin, Rodgers & Hammerstein--Siegel avoided the Broadway warhorses. "I wanted to stay away from the tunes that everybody does and knows," Siegel said. "There's so much material to choose from."

Bentyne, who until recently has been largely invisible as a solo recording artist, recorded three CDs for the Japanese label King in 2002 and 2003, which have only been available as imports. Telarc is handling the stateside release of Talk Of The Town, her first King album. Produced by her husband, pianist/arranger Corey Allen, and featuring guest appearances by Take 6 and Chuck Mangione, the collection of standards marks Bentyne's first solo record since 1992's Something Cool. "I wasn't ready for a solo career," Bentyne said. "'Then I saw some of these young singers coming up, getting successful doing standards and doing music that I should be doing and I'm thinking, 'I've got to get out them and do something.'"

The Transfer is still selecting material for their first Telarc studio album. "The concept may end up being just the four of us doing songs that we love," Siegel said. "That seems to be where we're all at right now."

"There's no real theme," Bentyne added. "The theme is pure inspiration and what's sparking us. That's got to be the foundation, but I'll tell you it took a long time to realize that's where we had to begin."

Posted by acapnews at December 23, 2003 8:22 AM

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