🎷 Jazz AOTW The Manhattan Transfer - VOCALESE

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Captain Bacardi

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The Manhattan Transfer
VOCALESE
Atlantic Records
vocalese.jpg

Released 1985

Produced by Tim Hauser

Peaked at #2 on the Jazz Album chart and #74 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart (1985)

GRAMMY Awards: Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo Or Group (Album); Best Arrangement For Voices
"Another Night in Tunisia" (Bobby McFerrin & Cheryl Bentyne); Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male -

"Another Night in Tunisia" (Bobby McFerrin & Jon Hendricks)

Songs & Musicians:
The Manhattan Transfer: Cheryl Bentyne, Tim Hauser, Alan Paul, Janis Siegel

1. That's Killer Joe (Benny Golson/Jon Henricks) - 5:02
John Robinson - Drums
Wayne Johnson - Guitar
Casey Young - Synthesizer Programming
Yaron Gershovsky - Synthesizer
Cheryl Bentyne - Art Farmer solo, McCoy Tyner solo
Tim Hauser - Benny Golson solo
Alan Paul - Curtis Fuller solo
Janis Siegel - McCoy Tyner solo, Vocal Arrangements
2. Rambo (J.J. Johnson/Jon Hendricks) - 3:19
The Count Basie Orchestra:
Saxophones - Marshall Royal, Danny House, Kenny Hing, Eric Dixon, Johnny Williams
Trumpets: Byron Stripling, Bob Ojeda, Sonny Cohn, Johnny Coles
Trombones: Mel Wanzo, Clarence Banks, Charlie Loper, Bill Hughes
Guitar - Freddie Green
Piano - Yaron Gershovsky
Bass - Ray Brown
Drums - Grady Tate
Tab Smith solo - Alan Paul
J.J. Johnson solo & vocal arrangement - Janis Siegel
Buck Clayton solo - Cheryl Bentyne
Arranger & Conductor - Dennis Wilson
Musical Supervision - Thad Jones
3. Airegin (Sonny Rollins/Jon Hendricks) - 3:19
Ralph Humphrey - Drums
Alex Blake - Bass
Yaron Gershovsky - Piano
Wayne Johnson - Guitar
Janis Siegel - Zoot Sims solo & Vocal arrangement
Alan Paul & Tim Hauser - Dave Lambert solo
Cheryl Bentyne - Russ Freeman solo
Jon Hendricks - Jon Hendricks solo
4. To You (Thad Jones/Jon Hendricks) - 3:53
Philly Jo Jones - Drums
Richard Davis - Bass
Tommy Flanagan - Piano
Guest Vocalists: The Four Freshman (Bob Flanagan, Autie Goodman, Mike Beisner, Rod Henley)
Alan Paul - Quentin "Butter" Jackson solo
Dick Reynolds - Vocal arrangement
5. Meet Benny Bailey (Quincy Jones/Jon Hendricks) - 3:29
Ralph Humphrey - Drums
Alex Blake - Bass
Yaron Gershovsky - Piano
Wayne Johnson - Guitar and Banjo
Don Roberts - Baritone Sax
James Moody - Tenor Sax solo
Cheryl Bentyne - Benny Bailey solo
Alan Paul & Yaron Gershovsky - Vocal arrangement
6. Another Night In Tunisia (Frank Paparelli/Jon Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie/Jon Hendricks) - 4:12
Bobby McFerrin - Guest Vocalist, Bass, Percussion
Jon Hendricks - Charlie Parker's Alto break and solo
Cheryl Bentyne & Bobby McFerrin - Vocal arrangement
7. Ray's Rockhouse (Ray Charles/Jon Hendricks) - 5:06
Arranged, conceptualized and performed by John Barnes, using the Synclavier, Fairlight, TX816, Lin 9000 and Vocoder and other synthesizers
Craig Harris - Programming
Jon Hendricks - soloist
Alan Paul - Vocal arrangement
8. Blee Blop Blues (William "Count" Basie/Jon Hendricks) - 3:01
The Count Basie Orchestra: Same as "Rambo" except Danny Turner replaces Danny House, Eugene "Snooky" Young replaces Bob Ojeda
Tim Hauser - Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis solo
Janis Siegel - Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - solo
Cheryl Bentyne - Joe Newman solo
Dennis Wilson - Arranger and Conductor
Janis Siegel & Dennis Wilson - Vocal arrangement
9. Oh Yes, I Remember Clifford (Benny Golson/Jon Hendricks) - 3:45
Grady Tate - Drums
Ron Carter - Bass
McCoy Tyner - Piano
Don Roberts - Tenor Sax
Dennis Wilson - Trombone
Alan Paul - Art Farmer solo
Phil Mattson - Vocal arrangement
10. Sing Joy Spring (Clifford Brown/Jon Hendricks) - 7:07
Ralph Humphrey - Drums
John Patitucci - Bass
Walter Davis, Jr. - Piano
Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet solo
Tim Hauser - Harold Land solo
Janis Siegel - Clifford Brown solo & vocal arrangement
11. Move (Denzil DeCosta Best/Jon Hendricks) - 2:49
Ralph Humphrey - Drums
Marshall Hawkins - Bass
Dick Hindman - Piano
Don Roberts - Baritone Sax
Richie Cole - Alto Sax solo
Janis Siegel - Miles Davis solo
Tim Hauser - Lee Konitz solo
Dick Reynolds - Vocal arrangement
Recorded at Can Am Recording, Ocean Way Recording, Bill Schnee Studio, and the Village Recorder, Los Angeles, CA; Clinton Recording Studios, New York; Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA; Craig Harris Music, Studio City, CA
Mixed by Elliot Scheiner
Recording and re-mix Engineer: Elliot Scheiner
Additional Engineers: Brian Malouf, Gary Ladinsky & Craig Harris
Assistant Engineers: Steve Katayama, Steve MacMillan, Dan Garcia, Jay Willis, Gene Curtis, Tom Size, Dan Matovina
Mixed at Sound Labs, Los Angeles
Mastered by Bernie Grundman Mastering, Los Angeles
Art Direction: Nels and Fayette Hauser
Photography: Nels


Available at Amazon.com (with song samples): http://www.amazon.com/Vocalese-Manh...7&sr=1-1&keywords=manhattan+transfer+vocalese



Capt. Bacardi
 

Rudy

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This and Brasil I think are their two best albums, as do many other ManTran fans who consider these a high water mark. Too many highlights on Vocalese to list them all, but "To You" is a showstopping vocal feature for me, featuring the Four Freshmen.


There was a laserdisc with five videos from this album, along with a "Vocalese Live" video that followed a year or so later.

 

Captain Bacardi

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While I'm not a huge vocal fan this album wow-ed me from the get go. This is about as perfect an album that one can make. The work that went into this album is mind blowing - taking the classic jazz solos from the original versions of the songs, creating lyrics for those solos by Jon Hendricks, then doing the actual singing - and in harmony in many cases! "Airegin" is the one standout for me, but the entire album is just stunning.

I'm glad I got to see Manhattan Transfer in concert. Now that Tim Hauser has passed on I wonder if they will continue the group.


Capt. Bacardi
 

Rudy

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They are still continuing, as they already had a replacement for when Hauser was ill several months prior, to fill some existing engagements before he returned to the group. Yet I don't know how long it might continue--no guarantees, in other words. I regret not seeing them however. One of those groups you figured would be around forever.

Brasil is another high water mark for me, primarily due to the song selection (based on the tunes of Djavan, Milton Nascimento, and their contemporaries), and the Americanized lyrics for many of the songs were cleverly written by Doug Fieger (formerly of The Knack). Even the fans consider these among the ManTran's best albums.
 

Captain Bacardi

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I remember when Brasil came out and there was an interview with MT and they said that Vocalese was such a high water mark that they wanted to do something completely different with Brasil. I believe "Soul Food To Go" was their hit from that album.



Capt. Bacardi
 

Rudy

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That may have been the hit. :agree: I was long done with radio by that point, but it seems logical they'd pull that track as a single.

One would have to hear the Brazilian lyrics (not necessarily know the lyrics, but know what the words sound like) to really "get" what Fieger was after with his lyric work on the album--that is what made it clever (despite sounding nonsensical). Here is Djavan's "Sina" which is what "Soul Food To Go" is based on--the similarities are obvious:


That is originally from his album Luz.

The authentic part was their use of many popular Brazilian talents on the album. Djavan appears on the track "Capim" which they all sing in Portuguese, and Milton Nascimento sings in English with them on "Jungle Pioneers" (I can't recall the correct name at the moment.) That one is more political in nature, being about the destruction of the rain forests (and IMHO, probably one of the most social-conscious songs they'd ever done).

I think what really struck me is that it was not one of those Brazilian cash-in albums (much like everyone was doing a Bossa Nova album in the 60s). They brought their own talents and put their own spin on these tunes, while also honoring and respecting the originals. In essence, the album embraced Brasil in many different ways but was also an album that only Manhattan Transfer could do. Not everyone's cup of tea, but definitely ambitious.

I would consider Vocalese to be their best, though. They'd toyed with this on a track or two on earlier albums, but really nailed the concept this time.
 

Captain Bacardi

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I would consider Vocalese to be their best, though. They'd toyed with this on a track or two on earlier albums, but really nailed the concept this time.

I remember the first time I heard of MT they were doing some kind of variety TV show. My first impressions were that they were kind of a nostalgia kind of group and I really wasn't that impressed. Then I heard them do "Four Brothers" and I was knocked out by that performance. Then they did "Birdland" and I became a believer.


Capt. Bacardi
 

Rudy

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I think part of their background (or at least Hauser's) was based as much in doo-wop as it was in jazz, so it isn't surprising that they have touched on quite a few styles, especially in the earlier years. And I agree--I heard "Four Brothers" on their Best Of CD which showed off their jazz chops better than anything else they had done prior. Their flexibility I think, too, made them difficult to pin down--some really wanted them to have an all-jazz repertoire and were upset when they weren't, while others were more content with the pop-styled songs and the doo-wop covers (like the "Boy From New York City"). I can't say everything has worked 100% for me, but it's been an interesting ride!

I haven't had a chance to pick up their Chick Corea project. I'm curious to see what they've arranged around his tunes.
 

Harry

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Saw the Manhattan Transfer open for a Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 concert at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Only vague memories.

Harry
 

Rudy

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An update of sorts--the 180 gram vinyl reissue from the EU sounds excellent.
 
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