The Manhattan Transfer at the Blue Note (E51)
The Manhattan Transfer entered a short residency at The Blue Note during the week prior to Thanksgiving, 2021. And it was marvelous!
Hoping for a jazz show at a jazz club (as opposed to the band’s pop hits), I was so happy to get my wish. A lot of jazz songs and vocalese interpretations of classic jazz tracks. A vocal arrangement of Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloupe Island… enough said.
A trip to the Blue Note with my sisters, Juliet and Heidi.
Aged to maturity, this vocal jazz band still shines well. The 250-300 people that packed this small venue were in good spirits as the band took the stage. It was a blur of ensemble and individual moments (everyone got their solo). The show afforded this DJ the opportunity to do some investigative work on the provenance of the songs – which turned out to be super fun!
Quite of few of the band’s selections cam from their recent album (The Junction, 2018) and that was just fine with me as it is truly packed with jazz standards.
LISTEN HERE – The Manhattan Transfer at the Blue Note
The Manhattan Transfer at the Blue Note
One of the songs the Manhattan Transfer reinterpreted was originally recorded by Count Basie.
“Topsy” was a 1938 instrumental release for bandleader Benny Goodman, written by Edgar Battle and Eddie Durham, which became a #14 pop hit. The tune had previously been recorded by Count Basie and His Orchestra on August 9, 1937.
William James “Count” Basie (/ˈbeɪsi/; August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. In 1935, he formed the Count Basie Orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. He led the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations like the use of two “split” tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, using arrangers to broaden their sound, and others. Many musicians came to prominence under his direction, including the tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, the guitarist Freddie Green, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry “Sweets” Edison, plunger trombonist Al Grey, and singers Jimmy Rushing, Helen Humes, Thelma Carpenter, and Joe Williams.
The Playlist – The Manhattan Transfer at the Blue Note
Tracks included in order of appearance. We moved quickly from track to track on this show.
|Song||Artist / Album||Year|
|Topsy||Count Basie / Topsy||1938|
|Topsy||The Manhattan Transfer / Swing||1997|
|(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66||Nat King Cole / The Nat King Cole Story||1991|
|Route 66||The Manhattan Transfer / Bop Doo-Wopp||1984|
|Swing Balboa||The Manhattan Transfer / The Junction||2018|
|Tuxedo Junction||The Manhattan Transfer / The Summit: Live on Soundstage||2018|
|The Duke of Dubuque||The Four Vagabonds / Four Vagabonds Vol. 1||1941|
|The Duke of Dubuque||The Manhattan Transfer / Bop Doo-Wopp||1984|
|It’s Good Enough to Keep (Airmail Special)||Benny Goodman / It’s Good Enough to Keep||1941|
|It’s Good Enough to Keep (Airmail Special)||Ella Fitzgerald / Live at Newport Jazz Festival 1967||1967|
|It’s Good Enough to Keep (Airmail Special)||The Manhattan Transfer / The Summit: Live on Soundstage||2018|
|Little Did I Dream||Dave Frishberg / Do You Miss New York? Live||2003|
|The Moment of Truth||Tony Bennett / I Wanna Be Around||1963|
|10 Minutes Till the Savages Come||The Manhattan Transfer / The Offbeat of Avenues||1991|
|The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul||XTC / Skylarking||1986|
|The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul||The Manhattan Transfer / The Junction||2018|
|Cantaloupe Island||Herbie Hancock / Empyrean Isles||1964|
|Cantaloop (Flip Out!)||The Manhattan Transfer / The Junction||2018|
|Groovin’||The Young Rascals||1967|
|Birdland||Weather Report / Heavy Weather||1977|
|Birdland – Live||The Manhattan Transfer / The Summit: Live on Soundstage||2018|
|Birdland||The Manhattan Transfer / Extensions||1997|
A PLAYLIST NOTE – The Manhattan Transfer at the Blue Note
Enjoying the ride, the back and forth, the insights… the fun.