The Manhattan Transfer

Man-Tora!: Live in Tokyo

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FM Tokyo recorded these live performances, Westwood One broadcast them in the States, and Bop Doo-Wopp included five of the tracks, but the rest weren't made available to the public until 1996. Backed by their touring sextet of the time, Man-Tora!: Live in Tokyo is certainly a more spontaneous Manhattan Transfer CD than that of their carefully produced recordings, genuinely overflowing with the joy of singing with each other. Listen to their ebullient interplay on "Jeannine," with Cheryl Bentyne's chirping voice way up top for a charge that the group only delivers live. The raison d'etre of the concert was to promote their then-new Bodies and Souls album -- not their best -- and there are inevitable small defects in the ensemble singing ("Trickle Trickle" being particularly more than a little ragged and off-mic). But there is also an ebullient treatment of "How High the Moon," in which guitarist Wayne Johnson pays a fleet-fingered tribute to Les Paul's version, and there's another great rendition of "Four Brothers."

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