The Manhattan Transfer’s new album, The Junction, is out now via BMG. This eclectic new recording finds the versatile jazz vocal group – with longtime members Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Siegel and Alan Paul – embracing new dynamic and fresh possibilities for their legendary sound and welcoming new member Trist Curless. It is also their first studio album since 2009’s ambitious The Chick Corea Songbook and since founder Tim Hauser’s passing in 2014.”The concept behind The Junction is this special meeting place – a junction merging our four and a half decade musical legacy with something new,” says Alan Paul via a press release. “It wasn’t exactly a seamless transition because Tim is irreplaceable, he and Trist are very different singers. We weren’t looking to replace Tim’s unique personality, but found Trist someone who could add a new element to the group, and take care of the bottom of the quartet with his true bass.”
The group’s close-knit bond and bonhomie are on full display throughout the disc’s 10 riveting tracks. But this vocal quartet seems to radiate fun and positive energy in any setting. Take this exclusive, behind-the-scenes video of The Manhattan Transfer’s photoshoot for the new album. There’s an obvious sense of family shared between the members of this group.
Produced by five-time Grammy Award winner Mervin Warren, The Junction includes covers and original songs that were chosen by The Manhattan Transfer to mark this transition. These tracks are rife with cool musical twists and Warren’s sparkling vocal arrangements, perfectly reflecting the band’s forward thinking aesthetic.
True to their varied past, the album finds the band blending different styles and atmospheres – from the moody original “Blues for Harry Bosch,” with lyrics by Bentyne and music by saxophonist Grace Kelly, to the joyful take on the classic rap of Us3’s early 90’s hip-hop/jazz hit “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia),” based on pianist-composer Herbie Hancock’s soul-jazz classic “Cantaloupe Island” – and balancing optimistic tracks with more pointed social commentaries.”As the work on the album reflects – democracy is the fabric of the group. It has been from the beginning,” says Bentyne. “We all have a different take on music and appreciate different styles, so each member brings something to the table that is unique. We have tremendous faith in that process. This album is completely us, a true snapshot of who we are right now, having survived so many hardships, but looking forward to exciting new chapters in the band’s story.”
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