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The Manhattan Transfer, Couldn't Be Hotter (Telarc)
Couldn't Be Hotter marks the Telarc debut of Grammy winning quartet the Manhattan Transfer, a move which certainly bolsters the label's jazz vocal roster. For over 30 years, Janis Siegel, Alan Paul, Cheryl Bentyne, and Tim Hauser have crafted pristine arrangements showcasing four-part harmonies that made them the premier jazz vocal groups since Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross. The live setting of Couldn't Be Hotter allows the group to highlight songs that acknowledge their diverse influences and offer some of their best hits to fans. While the casual listener can definitely appreciate group's enthusiastic sound, especially the dynamic voice of Siegel, the Transfer could have updated the mix with newer selections and laid off some of the cornball humor that's so specific to a track like "Gone Fishing". Telarc has performers like John Pizzarelli who also mine similar territory, but find subtle ways to keep in step. In these more ironic, modern times, it might be far better to be a little cool.