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The Manhattan Transfer

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New York, United States (1969 – 1971, 1972 – present)

The Manhattan Transfer is the name of two incarnations of an American vocal group, with Tim Hauser being the only link between the two groups. The group’s name comes from John Dos Passos’ 1925 novel Manhattan Transfer and reflects their New York origins.

The first group, established in New York City in 1969, disbanded after producing a single album, Jukin’ (1971). This article focuses on the second line-up which was set up in 1972 and is still together. It is famous for mixing , , and popular music styles.

It’s been over thirty-five 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.

On a spring evening in 1972, one of Hauser’s taxi fares was an aspiring young singer named Laurel Massé, who was familiar with the only album, Jukin’, by Hauser’s earlier Manhattan Transfer combo, and had seen them perform once. Realizing they shared the same musical vision, they agreed to meet again.

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