Cheryl Bentyne: Re-arrangements of Shadows

Better known for her work with Manhattan Transfer, Cheryl Bentyne has created an impressive catalogue on her own, ranging from swing to smoky standards. This time around, she delves into the songbook of Stephen Sondheim with a team of LA’s finest session studs including Dave Tull/dr, Kevin Axt/b, John Beasley/p and an occasional string quartet.

The arrangements by Axt, Jameieson Trotter, Mark Kibble, Bevan Manson and Beasley are subtle, clever and first rate, and Bentyne is in a dimmed light mood, bopping on the hip “The Ladies Who Lunch” or nimbly bouncing on “Everybody Says Don’t.” A duet with pianist Tom Zink produces a gloriously melancholy “I Wish I Could Forget You” while even more pathos is produced with strings on the desultory “Move Own” while “Send In The Clowns” has a more R&B feel than usual with doo woppy vocals and percussion adding extra oomph. Bentyne makes the difficult look easy on this flexible yet sensuous set.

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