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Cheryl Bentyne: Let Me Off Uptown

I make no bones about the fact that I consider Anita O’Day the single greatest female jazz singer ever. There’s never been a single moment when her incomparable jazz instincts haven’t been firing on all cylinders. So, when I hear that another vocalist has decided to shape an homage to O’Day, my critical hackles are immediately raised. Fortunately, the singer in question this time is long-standing Manhattan Transfer-ite Cheryl Bentyne, an impeccably skilled artist who’s been playing in O’Day’s supreme league for more than a quarter-century. At first blush, Bentyne seems perhaps an odd choice for an O’Day tribute. Stylistically they are miles apart. Where Bentyne is warm, buttery cinnamon toast, O’Day is a frozen daiquiri with extra salt and lime. Still, it works.

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