Celebrating their forty-fifth anniversary in 2017, the Manhattan Transfer continues to set the standard as one of the world’s greatest and most innovative vocal groups. Winners of ten Grammy Awards, with millions of records sold worldwide, this amazing quartet is building upon the extraordinary legacy created by founder Tim Hauser who organized the four-part harmony group on October 1, 1972, in New York City. Now consisting of Janis Siegel (alto), Alan Paul (tenor), Cheryl Bentyne (soprano), and newcomer Trist Curless (bass) who replaced Hauser following his passing in 2014, the group is proud to extend Hauser’s vision more than four decades later.
Defying categorization, the Manhattan Transfer became the first act to win Grammy Awards in the pop and jazz categories on the same year. In 1981, they won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for “The Boy from New York City” (a cover of the 1964 song by the Ad Libs) and Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group, for “Until I Met You (Corner Pocket).”
Beginning with their first performances in the 1970s, these four members of the Vocal Hall of Fame have become cornerstones of contemporary music, known for their amazing versatility, incorporating pop, jazz, R&B, rock and roll, swing, symphonic, and a cappella music. In their forty-six years as an ensemble, they have attained incredible longevity while navigating devastating obstacles. In 1978, a car accident caused original member Laurel Masse to leave the group. She was replaced by Cheryl Bentyne who made her recording debut on the 1979 album, Extensions, which won two Grammys for their cover of Weather Report’s “Birdland” (with lyrics by Jon Hendricks): Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal or Instrumental, and Siegel won for Best Arrangement for Voices.
In 1985, the Manhattan Transfer’s Vocalese made history as the single greatest Grammy-nominated album in history in one year with twelve nominations. Vocalese, which featured jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Ron Carter, and the Count Basie Orchestra, changed the perception of the Manhattan Transfer from pop singers to jazz artists. Vocalese earned two more Grammys: Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group, and Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices for “Another Night in Tunisia” (won by Bentyne and Bobby McFerrin).
In addition to McFerrin, the Manhattan Transfer has also sung with many other accomplished vocalists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, Bette Midler, Phil Collins, B. B. King, Chaka Khan, James Taylor, and Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons.
With its new lineup, the Manhattan Transfer returned on the road for a special collaboration: they joined Take 6 on the Summit Tour across the United States from October 2016 through March 2017. And as the group recorded its thirtieth album in 2017 (their first new CD in eight years), the members were extremely enthusiastic about the future.
After forty-six years of performing, the Manhattan Transfer continues to raise the bar and set even higher standards.
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