Passings: Tim Hauser of the Manhattan Transfer (1941 - 2014)

Tim Hauser, the only member of the Manhattan Transfer to have been with the group from their forming until today, died on Thursday from an undisclosed cause. He was 72.

The group announced Hauser's passing on their Facebook page:
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Tim Hauser’s passing with you all... As many of you know, Tim was the visionary behind The Manhattan Transfer. We spent more than 40 years together singing and making music, traveling the world, and sharing so many special moments throughout our lives... It's incomprehensible to think of this world without him.
We join his loving wife, Barb, his beautiful children, his family, and the rest of the world in mourning the loss of our dear friend and partner in song.
Love,
Janis, Cheryl and Alan

For those of you with tickets to our upcoming shows, we will continue to tour as scheduled and continue to share Tim’s incredible legacy...
Hauser was born in Troy, NY but spent much of his youth in and around Asbury Park, NJ where he began singing professionally at age 15. His doo wop group, the Criterions, recorded two songs for Cecelia Records and they appeared on Alan Freed's Big Beat Show.

While attending Villanova University, Hauser continued to work with Criterions members Tommy West and Jim Ruf as the folk group the Troubadours Three along with performing in the schools singing groups and working at the college radio station. Upon graduation in 1963, he served in the Air Force and National Guard before taking a job in his chosen field of economics.

In 1969, Hauser, Gene Pistilli, Marty Nelson, Erin Dickins and Pat Rosalia formed the first version of the Manhattan Transfer and, in 1971, they released their only album under this lineup, Jukin'. For those that know the current version of the Manhattan Transfer, the album would sound a bit alien, relying more on country and R&B then the jazz sound of the later group and it was those musical difference that led to the dissolving of the original group with Pistilli preferring their current sound but Hauser wanting more jazz and swing.

After working in a number of odd jobs, Hauser met Laurel Masse and, a short time later, Janis Siegel. The three decided to reform the Manhattan Transfer, officially becoming a group on October 1, 1972 with the addition of Alan Paul.

The group started performing at clubs like Max's Kansas City and Reno Sweeney where Atlantic's Ahmet Ertegun saw their act and signed them to the label. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1975, going to number 33 on the Billboard charts and spawning the hit Operator which reached number 22.

More albums were released through the rest of the 70's including Coming Out (1976 / #48) and Pastiche (1978 / #66) and they hosted their own summer replacement variety series in 1975 on CBS but it was in the U.K. where they were becoming a real hit. Pastiche went to number 10 on the British charts and the followup Live album hit number 4 while they had a number of hit singles including a remake of the 50's hit by Art and Dodie Todd, Chanson D' Amour, which went to number 1.

In 1978, Laurel Masse was seriously injured in a car accident and left the group to be replaced by Cheryl Bentyne, rounding out the lineup that remained together until Hauser's death. Their first album together was a jazz and pop landmark, Extensions (1979), which modernized their sound and included such hits as Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone (1980 / #30) and their extraordinary version of Weather Report's Birdland.

The group's followup, Mecca For Moderns, included what would become their biggest hit, a remake of the Ad-Libs The Boy From New York City which peaked at number 7 on the pop and number 4 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Each of their albums throughout the 80's extended their sound, including Bodies and Souls (1983), Bop Do-Wopp (1985) and the jazz classic Vocalese (1985). In 1987, they explored South American music on Brasil and started the new decade with the return of varied sounds on Offbeat of Avenues.

Later albums by the group included two holiday sets, a children's album, and salutes to Louis Armstrong and Chick Corea.

Overall, Hauser and the Manhattan Transfer won ten Grammy Awards, won numerous Downbeat, Playboy and JazzTimes polls and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.

Hauser released his only solo album, Love Stories, in 2007.




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