The Manhattan Transfer Delivers Swingin’ Sultry Harmonies


The Manhattan Transfer have been together for 47 years, have 10 Grammy’s, and their sold-out Sunday afternoon performance at the Kahilu Theatre thrilled the packed house.

TMT’s first song included two of the four voices copying horns, like trumpets. If you closed your eyes, you’d swear there were horns playing onstage. The original founder of The Manhattan Transfer was Tim Hauser, now replaced vocally by Trist Curless. The legendary quartet includes original members Alan Paul, Cheryl Bentyne & Janis Siegel.

Trist Curless takes a solo

Trist Curless quickly hit a solo in the first song, while three tight harmonies kept up with piano, drums, and stand-up bass. If you were around in 1984 you may recall their hit “Route 66.” TMT shared a most excellent medley from their 1975 album, which featured “That Cat is High,” “Tuxedo Junction,” and “Java Jive.” It included incredibly high notes by Cheryl Bentyne. Next, they covered a song from the 1930s entitled “Duke of Dubuque,” featuring an a ccapella bass beat, while Paul made the beat tap sound with his mouth AND sang! Cheryl Bentyne’s infectious smile continued throughout the night.

Alan Paul wrote the song sung right after intermission, “Swing Balboa.” Janis Siegel sounded just like a muted trumpet! Next came a cover of XTC’s song, “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul.” It featured piano and keyboard simultaneously, stand-up bass, and Bentyne whistling. The drummer switched to brushes for a softer sound.

Four-part harmony at its finest

During their second set, TMT featured “Mystery,” a song from their 1983 album Bodies and Souls, and penned for the group by Rod Temperton, the songwriter behind Michael Jackson’s hit singles. Next came several tunes from TMT’s new CD, The Junction. TMT said they believed, Tim Hauser, their former leader, would have wanted them to carry on the legacy, keep singing, traveling, and sharing the music.

TMT told the audience they love to keep up with other four-part harmony groups, which led them to cover the English jazz-rap group Us3’s song “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia).” The crowd clapped along to “The Boy from New York City” and “Birdland,” two of their most famous songs. The encore featured lyrics to the instrumental “Tequila,” with the audience participating on the “Tequila!” part.

It was such a joy to watch such fabulous musicality and professionalism. Next time they come to Hawaii, do check them out. TMT is headed to Australia next, and then their tour takes them to Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and lastly New York.

Set I
Topsy | Choo Choo Ch’Boogie | Route 66 | Medley: That Cat Is High / Java Jive / Tuxedo Junction / Operator | The Duke of Dubuque | Until I Met You (Corner Pocket) | A-Tisket, A-Tasket | Air Mail Special

Set II
Swing Balboa (Down On Riverside) | The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul | 10 Minutes Till the Savages Come | Mystery | Sometimes I Do | Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) | Groovin’ | The Boy From New York City | Birdland

Tequila (The Way of the Booze)

Please visit The Manhattan Transfer’s official site for the latest music and tour news:

Love Guru Uma sings, plays ukulele, is a substitute teacher and writes books. She has just completed Book 2 in a series of adventure love story and self-help reads entitled Love is Crazy – Lessons in Love: Creating your own Happy Ever After and Love is Crazy Satisfying.

Photos: Steve Roby


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