Saturday was a mountaintop event for the Lied Center for Performing Arts.
The two best-known New York vocal jazz ensembles, Take 6 and Manhattan Transfer, came together on the Lied main stage for “The Summit,” 90 minutes of music, some as individual groups, some together.
With 20 Grammys between them, the seasoned ensembles were set for a golden evening before a crowd of 1,600.
For openers, the groups offered the 1960s jazz hit “Killer Joe” and it was apparent the close harmonies of both ensembles were blending well with exact pitches. The joy continued with “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and some great interactive gestures on stage.
Take 6 took it alone a few times, offering a great version of “Just in Time” and superb scat singing on “Got to Get You into My Life.”
After a close-harmony rendering of “Candy” from Manhattan Transfer’s first album, the legendary quartet offered an opportunity for the Lied followers to interact on a rousing “Talk About the Girl From New York City.”
Two singers from each ensemble gathered around one microphone for the Manning Sherwin standard “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.” This one was full of rich, close harmonies and excellent blend.
But the melding of the two ensembles was what the crowd came to hear, and they were not disappointed.
Manhattan Transfer began a striking arrangement of Gene Puerling’s “Lately.” Take 6 entered to add more harmony in some of the best jazz textures imaginable. The singing interaction of the two groups was just splendid to take in.
The closer was the rocking Ray Charles “What’d I Say,” with audience members singing along and clapping wildly. A roar went up at concert’s end. It was easy to tell these two iconic groups had made a hit with togetherness in Lincoln.