It would be far too easy to dismiss this vocal jazz quartet as but another group doing their own riff on the Manhattan Transfer. The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet digs much deeper and will release Hustlin' For A Gig on 09/04/12. Oh sure, the Manhattan Transfer influence is unmistakable along with Lambert/Hendricks/Ross and a swing influence that runs from Count Basie to classic soul.
What sets this ensemble apart from other groups attempting the same type vocalese approach to a sub genre that in some cases has been beaten to death is vocalist/leader Ginny Carr is a lyricist of immeasurable talent. Carr penned eight of the ten tunes here style and flair with the end result a harmonious balance of ...well, harmony of course! Hustlin' For A Gig opens with "He Was The Cat" which is a tribute to the great Eddie Jefferson and proceeds to take off from that point. The vocal quartet is rounded out with Robert McBride, Andre Enceneat, and Holly Shockey and their harmonic blend is smooth, rich and full bodied. Vocalese with muscle and their own unique flavor, nothing tired or predictable here. The band is as tight as they come, first call cats one and all adding just the right amount of pop in all the right places. Ginny Carr also has her finger on the pulse on the production and arrangements of this most impressive release showing just how important musical multi-tasking can be when it comes to quality control of the final product.
"Normally" this particular style of vocal jazz hold my attention span about as long as an Obama press conference and I find myself placing an act such as this in the "novelty" category or as perhaps a nice warm up for when easy listening may be the ticket.
The ability to shift gears and move effortlessly from lush ballads to smoldering samba's grabbed my attention immediately. Toss in a smoking hot band with tight arrangements and you have what I like to call old school moving to new cool. As versatile and entertaining as any vocal group you may hear. The Uptown Vocal Quartet takes their original influences of some iconic masters and transforms them into their own unique flavor and unforgettable sound. A very impressive release hitting all the right notes!
Tracks: He Was The Cat; Hustlin For A Gig; Gone Gone Gone; I'll Remember Why; Caught You Spreadin' Your Love All Over The Place; This Is The Life; A Million Miles; Java Junkie; Now I Have This; You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet.
The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet: Ginny Carr: vocals, keyboards; Robert McBride: vocals; Andre Enceneat: vocals; Holly Shockey: vocals.
Frank Russo: drums, percussion; Max Murray: bass; Alan Blackman: piano, fender rhodes; Steve Herberman: guitar; Chris Vadala: alto sax, clarinet; Leigh Pilzer: tenor sax, baritone sax; Chris Walker: trumpet; Jen Krupa: trombone.
Special Thanks To Jim at Jazz Promo Services.