Best known to global audiences as a member of the versatile, multiple Grammy-winning vocal quartet the Manhattan Transfer, Cheryl Bentyne amassed a catalog of beautifully rendered, intimate recordings exploring her love for the Great American Songbook -- including full sets devoted to the Gershwins and Cole Porter. This stripped-down affair, originally released in 2004 by King Records as Cheryl Bentyne Sings Waltz for Debby -- and made available in this incarnation five years later -- features Bentyne's pure, supple voice charming and seducing over the lush piano accompaniment of Kenny Barron and the subtle rhythms of Ray Drummond. The joy of these arrangements is that they allow the listener to hear the incredible range of Bentyne's voice, and a command as a storyteller that she can't display as part of her famed ensemble. On intimate ballads like "Last Night When We Were Young" and "But Beautiful," she balances a deep feeling for romance with a genuine sense of heartbreak. That range of emotions is complemented by her sheer whimsy on more lively tunes like "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "Thou Swell," which includes some truly inspired soloing by Barron. A somewhat overlooked gem in her catalog, The New York Sessions is also one of Bentyne's most accomplished solo works.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran