A member of the Manhattan Transfer beginning in 1979, Cheryl Bentyne's beautiful voice, wide range, versatility, and impressive stage presence made her into a major asset for the popular vocal group from the start. Her father was a clarinetist who led a Dixieland band, and Bentyne sang swing music with his group while in high school. She was the lead singer with the New Deal Rhythm Band (a swing-oriented band) for four years and then in 1979 replaced Laurel Masse with the Manhattan Transfer.
In 1992 she released her first solo album, Something Cool. Produced by trumpeter/arranger Mark Isham, it found Bentyne delving into pop standards in a jazz style. Although she continued to perform and record with the Manhattan Transfer, it took over ten years for Bentyne to release her next solo album. Released in 2003, Among Friends featured Bentyne performing in a straight-ahead jazz style on various Great American Songbook standards. Since then, Bentyne has stuck to the acoustic jazz aesthetic, releasing a steady stream of albums including Lights Still Burn and Sings Waltz for Debby in 2004, Let Me Off Uptown in 2005, and Book of Love in 2006.
Bentyne then delivered two composer tribute albums with 2011's Gershwin Songbook and 2012's Let's Misbehave: The Cole Porter Songbook. She next paired with vocalist Mark Winkler for 2013's West Coast Cool. The compilation album Lost Love Songs, featuring tracks from several of Bentyne's Japan-only albums, appeared in 2016. ~ Scott Yanow