Forty-five years from their ground zero, The Manhattan Transfer put on an amazing show last evening at the Wilmington Grand Opera House. The theatre was about 80% full, mostly grey heads who walked down memory lane as the quartet sang us through the decades of their hits. "Tuxedo Junction," "Duke of Dubuque," "Candy," "Route 66," "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," "Señor Blues," "Corner Pocket, "Ten Minutes Till The Savages Come," "Joy Spring," "Trickle, Trickle," "Hear The Voices," and the incomparable vocalese "Birdland" were some of the group numbers, delivered one right after the other with only a quick sip of water in between and maybe a 10-word introduction.
And the band...well, every tune was like a virtuosic explosion of talent! Yaron Gershovsky, long-time TMT music director lit the piano on fire with every swing tune, obviously impressing the quartet and dropping jaws all over the theatre. The bassist and drummer where also incredibly versatile and creative. The lessons in jazz interpretation and tasty improvisation were truly abundant in Copeland Hall last night.
While surely not the first vocal group to make it to the national stage, The Manhattan Transfer were among the first to win a cross-over audience, propelling the vocal jazz "movement" forward for almost five decades. Their voices are aging well (especially Janis Siegel!!) and they swing HARD! If you're looking for inspiration or a jump-start to your own vocal jazz motivation, don't miss another chance to see The Manhattan Transfer