Couldn’t Be Hotter
Manhattan Transfer is the kind of group that is OK for anyone to like. People who like jazz and swing music will naturally enjoy Couldn’t Be Hotter. Fans of dance music (even today’s ridiculous R & B stuff played on mainstream radio) will be completely unable to deny just how infectious the warm melodies and butt shakin’ tunes are. Senior citizens might recall many of the songs here from their younger years, and the way in which the Manhattan Transfer plays them is not only historically accurate but the liberties taken seem to add more than detract from the originals.
This live performance from Japan is expertly performed and recorded, the sound quality immaculate and the songs precious. Of the most memorable songs, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” is my favorite. The ladies of the vocal quartet (two ladies, two gentlemen) take the lead on this song, with the men lending occasional response to the ladies’ sing-song call. “Sugar,” the laid back and sultry number from long ago, is probably the naughtiest sounding song, with its brushed drums and slinky bass line providing the perfect backdrop for the longing vocals. “Blue Again” is another sad tune. It features the guys on vocals, and I honestly started to feel for the singer as he sang about his “blueness.”
Simply put, this album is fantastic. Manhattan Transfer is a band at the top of its game, effortlessly creating music that sounds as if it floated down from the heavens. This is highly recommended for anyone who values music played properly by professionals who love the early part of 20th century.