Riding a wave of nostalgia in the '70s, the Manhattan Transfer resurrected jazz trends from boogie-woogie to bop to vocalese in a slick, slightly commercial setting that balanced the group's close harmonies. Originally formed in 1969, the quartet recorded several albums of jazz standards as well as much material closer to R&B/pop.
The dictionary definition of "pastiche" is an artistic composition imitating or caricaturing previous works, so given the lack of homegrown material here, it is hard to say what the Manhattan Transfer meant by this title. In any case, this assortment of odds and ends from various eras in American music – recorded in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and Australia – finds the Transfer casting its lines in search of a direction that it had yet to find. But there are signs that they were getting close. The Transfer's stunning rendition of "Four Brothers," with composer Jimmy Giuffre present in the sax section, marks the beginning of their championing of the words of Jon Hendricks and placed the Transfer in position to claim the long-vacant throne of group vocalese…
Jukin' is the debut album recorded by The Manhattan Transfer. Released on Capitol Records in 1971, it was also the only album released by the first incarnation of the group which consisted of founder Tim Hauser, Erin Dickins, Marty Nelson, Gene Pistilli, and Pat Rosalia. The album was later reissued in the UK by EMI's Music for Pleasure under the title The Manhattan Transfer and Gene Pistilli Pistilli had been best known for his performing and songwriting collaborations with Terry Cashman and Tommy West. The group line-up endured only about two years. According to Tim Hauser, "Gene and I were in two different places. He was more into country & western,..
This collection features rerecorded versions of some of the Manhattan Transfer's best-known songs, including classics like "Embraceable You," "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" as well as their inspired reworking of Weather Report's "Birdland."
The Chick Corea Songbook is a studio album released by The Manhattan Transfer on September 29, 2009. The album features The Manhattan Transfer's interpretations of several Chick Corea compositions, as well as an additional track that was written specifically by Mr. Corea for this album. All About Jazz editor Jerry D'Souza stated regarding this album, "Manhattan Transfer is back, and in top-notch form with a marvelous blend of melody and song."
Anthology: Down In Birdland was an anthology 2-CD album released by The Manhattan Transfer in 1992 on the Rhino Records label. It was the first album released by the group on this label. This two disc set came with a 52-page booklet that gave an informative history of the group along with numerous photographs which depicted various stages of their history.
On this continually interesting CD, the Manhattan Transfer revisits tunes from the swing era, in some cases re-creating (through vocalese) specific recordings. Benny Goodman's 1935 version of "King Porter Stomp," Bennie Moten's 1932 recording of "Moten's Swing," Glenn Miller's "I Know Why," Charlie Barnet's "Skyliner," and Fletcher Henderson's exciting arrangement of "Down South Camp Meetin'" are among the many highlights. The vocals are superb (particularly Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne), although one wishes that the individual members had more of a chance to improvise within the style…
Brasil was The Manhattan Transfer's tenth album.This album was a new foray for the group into Brazilian music. During the recording sessions they worked with many songwriters, including Ivan Lins, Milton Nascimento, Djavan, and Atlantic records Jazz recording artist Gilberto Gil. After the initial recording sessions, the songs were re-arranged and then fitted with English lyrics. This album won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
FM Tokyo recorded these live performances, Westwood One broadcast them in the States, and Bop Doo-Wopp included five of the tracks, but the rest weren't made available to the public until 1996. Backed by their touring sextet of the time, Man-Tora!: Live in Tokyo is certainly a more spontaneous Manhattan Transfer CD than that of their carefully produced recordings, genuinely overflowing with the joy of singing with each other. Listen to their ebullient interplay on "Jeannine," with Cheryl Bentyne's chirping voice way up top for a charge that the group only delivers live.