Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The first manifestation of the group was established during 1969 in New York city, with Tim Hauser, Erin Dickins, Marty Nelson, Gene Pistilli, and Pat Rosalia. They contracted with Capitol Records, recorded several tracks, and during 1971 issued their only album with this line-up, Jukin'. The album was later reissued in the UK by EMI's Music for Pleasure under the title The Manhattan Transfer and Gene Pistilli. This team endured only until 1971. The current group was founded during 1972 by Tim Hauser and singers Alan Paul, Janis Siegel, and Laurel Massé. Performances at Max's Kansas City, Trude Heller’s and Reno Sweeney with Herb Abramson's A-1 Sound engineer Jim Reeves in New York City soon developed for them a cult fan base, and it was at the latter venue that Ahmet Ertegün, founder and chairman of Atlantic Records, saw them and offered a recording contract which resulted in the release, during 1975, of this team's first album, The Manhattan Transfer. The album included the group’s first successful single, the gospel tune "Operator".  In 1978, Laurel Massé was injured badly by an auto accident and was replaced by Cheryl Bentyne. The team has remained the same since then.

Their next recording, Extensions, earned The Manhattan Transfer their second US popular music success: "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone", written by Alan Paul and Jay Graydon as a tribute to the 1960s’ CBS television series created by Rod Serling.  Their journey into JAZZ began with the album Extensions... featured a cover of Weather Report's "Birdland", with lyrics by Jon Hendricks, the piece that has become The Manhattan Transfer's signature tune. One of the most popular jazz recordings of 1980, "Birdland" brought The Transfer its first Grammy award (Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal or Instrumental), and the award for Best Arrangement For Voices.

During 1981, The Manhattan Transfer made music history by becoming the first group to win Grammy awards for both popular and jazz categories in the same year. "Boy from New York City" (a cover of the 1965 success by The Ad Libs), which scored in the top 10 on the popular charts, won them the award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and "Until I Met You (Corner Pocket)" earned them a Grammy for Best Jazz Performance, Duo or Group. Both of these songs appeared on the group's fifth album, Mecca for Moderns.  During 1982, the group won another Grammy, for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group, for its rendition of the classic ode-to-the-road, "Route 66". The song was on the soundtrack to the Burt Reynolds film Sharky's Machine
During September 1983 the team produced the album Bodies and Souls, with an urban-contemporary style which resulted in two R&B-chart singles — the #2 "Spice of Life" (also #40 on the pop chart) and the ballad "Mystery" (#80 R&B, #102 Pop). Despite its disappointing chart performance, "Mystery" — with powerful lead vocals by Siegel — has become one of the group's best-loved songs. Hauser has called it the group's biggest turntable (radio airplay) success. Anita Baker covered it on her "breakout" album, Rapture.

The Manhattan Transfer's next set, Vocalese (1985) was a great critical success[citation needed]. Vocalese received twelve Grammy nominations — at the time making it second only to Michael Jackson's Thriller as the most nominated single album ever. The Transfer won in two categories: Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group, and Best Arrangement for Voices. This was followed by a live recording of many of these songs titled Live. This concert was also released on VHS and DVD.
The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. By that time, it had become known for mixing jazz, big band, and popular music styles.  The group's 30-plus year history and success has lead them into this new millenium with worldwide sales in the millions, Grammy Awards by the dozens, and veterans of sold-out World Tours.
Their newest CD, "The Chick Corea Songbook" was released in September 2009. This release features Chick Corea's most recognizable material with an appearance by Chick Corea himself on Free Samba. Other notable musicians on this recording are Airto, Scott Kinsey, Gary Novack, Steve Hass, Alex Acuna, Jimmy Earl, John Benitez, and Christian McBride.

Crawford is an accomplished musician from a musical family, as well as an actor and former child star, having appeared in over 200 television shows, 15 movies, and 13 plays. Crawford now performs with his own vintage dance band featuring authentic orchestrations from the first half of the 20th century. He has garnered an enthusiastic following in Southern California for concerts, dances, private parties and provides authentic period music for film and special events.