The Spring Jazz Series continues with Vocalist Cheryl Bentyne, a member of Manhattan Transfer, on Friday April 21 at the Palace Theater Poli Club. The series is produced by New England Arts and Entertainment. Showtimes are 7:00 and 9:00 PM with the bar and doors opening at 6:15 PM.
Born in a small rural town, Mount Vernon, Washington, was less than a perfect place to learn the business of show. But Cheryl was born swinging on 2 and 4, as her father was a band leader, and to this day she attributes her deep-seeded roots in classic, jazz, and swing to singing with him on Saturday nights from age 14 through High School. Cheryl’s mother was a bit of a stage mom, driving her to piano lessons and telling her she should sing with her dad’s band. What seems as natural as breathing out and breathing in was at that time paving the way for her life.
Upon graduating early from High School, Cheryl moved south to the big city of Seattle where she auditioned for a campy swing band, The New Deal Rhythm Band. Calling these her “college years” Cheryl honed her various talents into one big show, including a Ruby Keeler bit, Carmen Miranda, and general mayhem with nine wild, swingin’ cats! On the road for four years took her even further south. Los Angeles being her next stop, she signed with a manager, Linda Friedman. While Cheryl waitressed, under Linda’s guidance she began taking dance and singing lessons. She played “Hoot Nights” at the famous Troubadour as well as the Bla Bla Cafe in Studio City… until that fateful day when her manager called to ask if she was interested in auditioning for The Manhattan Transfer. And of course the rest (or next 37 years) is history.
In 1979 Cheryl joined up with the famous group and dove head-first into rehearsals as well as the studio to record her first album with them. This was the new grouping which has garnered ten Grammy’s, to date. “Birdland,” from “Extensions,” was the group’s first Grammy—exciting for not only Cheryl, but her new singing partners. Cheryl won a shared Grammy with Bobby McFerrin for a vocal experiment of sorts on “Another” in “Night In Tunisia.” She co-wrote the title song from TMT’s self-written album “The Offbeat Of Avenues,” as well as sharing writing credit for the Grammy winning song, “Sassy.”
Cheryl’s solo efforts are numerous in quite a few genres: a complete vocal soundtrack for “Mortal Thoughts,” a film by Alan Rudolph; singing in “A Dangerous Woman,” a film by Debra Winger; and a shared vocal trio with Janis Siegel and Lorraine Feather for Warren Beatty’s “Dick Tracy.” Her speaking voice has also made its mark in her first audio book, “Little Girl Blue, The Karen Carpenter Story,” available for download on Amazon.
Her solo CD’s are numerous and stretch from Columbia to King Records in Japan to Telarc to Artistshare to Summit and now back to Artistshare for her new project due later in 2017. Cheryl recorded “Something Cool” on Columbia (1992), produced by the extremely talented Mark Isham. In 2000 she and the brilliant playwright, Dennis Deal, created a Cole Porter review called “Dreaming Of Mister Porter.” 2002 brought her to King Records in Japan where her recording career thrived for many years and garnered her two SWING JOURNAL awards, beginning with “Talk Of The Town,” 2003 “Moonlight Serenade” (a vocal experiment with various other guests,) followed by “Songs of Our Time.” “The Lights Still Burn” came next, with originals by various friends and heroes of hers. “Waltz For Debby” (featuring Kenny Barron and Ray Drummond) was her greatest success and garnered her two Swing Journal Awards in Japan. In 2004 Telarc Records bought up “Talk Of The Town,” followed by a new studio recording, “Let Me Off Uptown” (tribute to Anita O’Day) and “The Book Of Love,” featuring lush, stunning string arrangements by Corey Allen. Then came “The Cole Porter Songbook” (back to King…), later released in the U.S. by Summit Records, and “The Gershwin Songbook,” later released in the U.S. by Artistshare. Her latest is a compilation of yet three more CD’s unreleased in the U.S. on Summit Records called “Lost Love Songs.”
Cheryl is in the process of a new project that goes very deep to her heart, as Stephen Sondheim is her personal hero. It is also to be created by Artistshare, with a release date in late 2017. She keeps busy.
Cheryl’s other passions include her Spa Music, “Blissongs,” which is used in a few Yoga studios in L.A., with hopes to expand the line into breathing workshops as well as collaborating with meditation guides. And her new-found champion is a creator of The Louis and Lucille Armstrong Music Therapy center in NYC, which will open the doors to her desire to work in the music therapy world. Cheryl is a Cancer survivor twice, and after having a Stem Cell transplant she feels there is a great need for healing (with music) on another level while lying in a bed, hooked up to chemo, or just as a comfort to anyone in distress with an illness.Cheryl is working on her journey as a film/live show as well.