Multi-Grammy Award-winning American vocal group The Manhattan Transfer – Tim Hauser, Cheryl Bentyne, Alan Paul and Janis Siegel, are a multi-million selling four-part harmony who have delivered such Top 10 hits as Chanson d’Amour, Birdland, Route 66, Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone, Boy From New York City, Tuxedo Junction and many more.
It’s been nearly 40 years since Tim Hauser, a former Madison Avenue marketing executive, paid his bills by driving a New York City cab while aspiring to form a harmony vocal quartet sui generis that could authentically embrace varied musical styles, and still create something wholly unique in the field of American popular song.
Hauser had been in doo-wop groups, folk groups, and even in a short-lived quintet named The Manhattan Transfer, but as the sounds of jazz, R&B, pop, rock’n’roll, salsa and swing poured out of brownstones, Hauser now dreamt of four-part harmonies without limits.
In the Fall of 1972, Hauser’s taxi fare was an aspiring young singer named Laurel Massé, who was familiar with the sole album by Hauser’s earlier Manhattan Transfer combo, and was looking to form a group. A few weeks later, another of Hauser’s fares invited him to a party where he met Brooklyn native Janis Siegel. Although already in a group, Siegel agreed to help out on some demos and before long she was the third member of The Manhattan Transfer. As Hauser, Massé and Siegel began rehearsing, they met Alan Paul, who was co-starring in the original production of Grease, and the rest, as they say, is history.
There have been two manifestations of the group, with Tim Hauser being the only person to be part of both. Their name comes from John Dos Passos’ 1925 novel that refers to the group’s New York origins.
The forthcoming Australian concerts will give audiences the opportunity to look back at one of the greatest bodies of American popular music of a group that is restless, adventurous, limitless and, as critics so aptly put it, a group that still can sound dangerous.
See the Transfer this Friday at Twin Towns – Tweed Heads.