It’s been nearly forty 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. In 1972, Hauser met an aspiring young singer named Laurel Massé, who was familiar with the sole album by Hauser’s earlier Manhattan Transfer combo. A few weeks later, Hauser was 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, Massé’s then-boyfriend introduced Hauser and Siegel to Alan Paul, who was co-starring in the original production of Grease, and the rest, as they say, is history. In 1978, Massé was injured in a car accident and during her convalescence, decided not to rejoin the group. One of many who auditioned for her slot was Cheryl Bentyne, a stunning singer from Mt. Vernon, Washington, and a four-year veteran of The New Deal Rhythm Band. At Bentyne’s dazzling audition, the other Manhattan Transfer members immediately felt her impact, invited her to join, and, as Paul puts it, “The Transfer’s second phase began.”
The first album featuring the now legendary quartet of Hauser, Siegel, Paul & Bentyne was 1979?s Extensions which earned the band another smash (#1 in New York and #2 in Los Angeles) with “Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone”. The album also featured a vocal remake of the Weather Report classic “Birdland,” with lyrics by Jon Hendricks, that would go on to be recognized as the group’s anthem, and earn them their first two Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal or Instrumental and Best Arrangement For Voices for Siegel’s work on the song.
The group went from strength to strength, when in 1981, they became the first group ever to win Grammy Awards in both Pop and Jazz categories in the same year – Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Jazz Performance, Duo or Group. In 1982 and 1983 the group won consecutive Grammy Awards in the Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group category for, respectively, “Route 66? and “Why Not!” In 1985, 12 Grammy nominations made Vocalese the single greatest Grammy nominated album in one year. The Manhattan Transfer closed out the decade by completing a ten-year sweep (1980-1990) as the “Best Vocal Group” in both the annual DownBeat and Playboy jazz polls.
Heading into the new millennium, with worldwide sales in the millions, Grammy Awards by the dozen, and as veterans of sold-out world tours, The Manhattan Transfer once again proved their uncanny knack for being ahead of the times by teaming up with the then relatively unknown, but future Grammy Award winning, producer Craig Street to record their tribute to the music of Louis Armstrong (The Spirit Of St. Louis).
Join this amazing vocal group as they perform live on stage at the historic Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp District for one night only!
Ages: For your comfort and the enjoyment of others, please use discretion when bringing children to any live theatre event.