Five things to know about Manhattan Transfer

The Manhattan Transfer’s (from left) Tim Hauser, Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Siegel and Alan Paul. -- PHOTO: MOSAIC
The Manhattan Transfer’s (from left) Tim Hauser, Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Siegel and Alan Paul. -- PHOTO: MOSAIC

Tim Hauser, showman and founder of Grammy-winning Manhattan Transfer, died of cardiac arrest at 72 last Thursday - but his jazzy legacy of intricate vocal harmonies will resonate for a long time. Manhattan Transfer also has a musical link to Singapore. Read on for five things to know about the troupe.

1. On A Little Street In Singapore.

This wistful jazz number, fairly popular in the 1930s and 1940s, was written by songwriters Peter DeRose and Billy Hill. Manhattan Transfer covered it in 1978, and Frank Sinatra before that. The lyrics (below) evoke romance in the mysterious east of an earlier era.

On a little street in SingaporeWith me beside a lotus covered doorA veil of moonlight on her lovely faceHow pale the hands that held me in embrace

2. Longevity of quartet.

Hauser formed Manhattan Transfer in 1969, after working various jobs as a New York cabbie and advertising executive. Since 1979, there has been no change in the line-up of two men and two women. Other members are Alan Paul, Cheryl Bentyne and Janis Siegel.

3. Darling at the Grammys.

Manhattan Transfer recorded more than 20 albums and won 10 pop and jazz Grammy awards. Their critically acclaimed album, Vocalese (1985), earned a whopping 12 Grammy nominations. Other memorable hits include Operator and The Boy from New York City.

4. Manhattan Transfer is a novel.

The group is named after a novel of urban life and alienation in New York authored by John Dos Passos in 1925. One of his most important works, the novel is inter-woven with fragmented narratives, newspaper elements and also snatches of song lyrics.

5. Singing from the very beginning.

Tim Hauser once asked his mother how long he had been singing, and she said: “As long as I can remember.” Manhattan Transfer will continue its upcoming tour. The next show is Oct 23 in Manchester, New Hampshire.