As a member of the Manhattan Transfer, Cheryl Bentyne has developed a reputation as a strikingly hip purveyor of jazz, show and bygone pop tunes. So it's no surprise that her first solo album, "Something Cool" (Columbia), is a moody tribute to a generation of singers that includes June Christy, Jeri Southern and Peggy Lee.
"I like to do music that challenges me and is interesting," Bentyne, 39, said earlier this week from her home in Los Angeles, "music that you can find intriguing and can hear with your heart. Unfortunately, that isn't always what sells."
Released last year, the disc features tunes from Duke Ellington, Kurt Weill and Michel Legrand as well as a haunting version of Artie Shaw's "Moonray," and a suitably sultry version of John Davenport's "Fever."
" 'Something Cool' has a real blue mood, which is exactly what I wanted to accomplish," Bentyne said. "And 'Fever' was perfect for the album, for the era I was dealing with. I've been developing my style, getting gutsier, more tough and willing to sing that kind of music."