The Manhattan Transfer


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The dictionary definition of "pastiche" is an artistic composition imitating or caricaturing previous works, so given the lack of homegrown material here, it is hard to say what the Manhattan Transfer meant by this title. In any case, this assortment of odds and ends from various eras in American music -- recorded in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and Australia -- finds the Transfer casting its lines in search of a direction that it had yet to find. But there are signs that they were getting close. The Transfer's stunning rendition of "Four Brothers," with composer Jimmy Giuffre present in the sax section, marks the beginning of their championing of the words of Jon Hendricks and placed the Transfer in position to claim the long-vacant throne of group vocalese. Otherwise, there are curiosities like a quasi-C&W-tinted rendition of "Love for Sale" staffed by some of Nashville's finest...and a few fair covers of rock and R&B numbers...

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