Manhattan Transfer: the vocal group that turns 50, makes its last tour and wants to win another Grammy

The band announced a farewell to grand tours and aims to win its eleventh award in 2023.

The famous vocal quartet Manhattan Transfer is not only fulfilling 50 years of career but has just released a very appropriately named record called fiftyand began an anniversary tour that will continue in 2023. In addition, that album is nominated for a Grammy, an award that the group has already won ten times.

And if any reason was missing to give the award to the Manhattan Transfer, now there is the emotional fact of the announcement that this last series of shows will be as part of a farewell tour. They are not going to retire, but they want to slow down the pace of performances and not do more intensive tours.

Statistics lovers discovered that is one of four artists to win seven Grammys followed by seven consecutive albums. Also, in 1981 they were the first artist to win Grammys in the pop and jazz categories. Y in 1985 they obtained 12 nominations for his record vocalisea record for jazz and for any other musical style, second only to thriller by Michael Jackson.

The beginnings

The Manhattan Transfer in its early days, with its characteristic classic look.

Officially, the Manhattan Transfer’s start date is October 1972, although founding member Tim Hauser had another band with the same name in the late ’60s, but only recorded one album and broke up. Hauser started driving a taxi and had in mind to record a demo to get a new record deal, so he was looking for singers for a vocal quartet.

One passenger turned out to be Laurel Massé, who was a waitress and a singer, so he recruited her. She then discovered Alan Paul, who was in the original cast of grease on Broadway. The next to enter was Janis Siegel, and that’s how they started, in full fury of the most glitter.

“Unusually,” Paul told a recent talk at The Grammy Museum, “we wanted people to notice us and not go unnoticed. We didn’t want to go on stage in jeans, so we wore a lot of makeup, wigs and fancy clothes, like partying.” The push came only in 1975, thanks to the famous Bette Midler, who convinced the president of Atlantic Records, the legendary Ahmet Ertegun.

The first hit was a version of the classic gospel theme operatorand from the next record he hit Song D’Amour. followed Twilight Zone, The Boy From New York City and the anthological version with own lyrics of the instrumental theme birdland. Later, from the album Vocalese they became one of the most distinctive artists on the world jazz scene.

The current lineup includes Trist Curless, who came on as Hauser’s fill-in when he fell ill and died unexpectedly.

“We would never have imagined a 50-year career,” recounted Alan Paul. “But it was a blessing to have done so much and traveled for so long everywhere and to see that there are people who want to listen to our music.”

Added Janes: “If there’s one thing the world needs, it’s harmony.”

the last record

"fifty"from Manhattan Transfer

“Fifty” by Manhattan Transfer

fifty It was made with a German orchestra called WDR Funkhausorchester, a union that arose after playing together in 2019. The pandemic delayed the completion of the project, but they finally did it remotely and the edition coincided with the group’s 50th anniversary.


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Manhattan Transfer: the vocal group that turns 50, makes its last tour and wants to win another Grammy