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Manhattan Transfer - Vocalese Live 1986
Manhattan Transfer - Vocalese Live 1986
Actor: The Manhattan Transfer
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2000     1hr 20min

Vocal magicians extraordinaire, The Manhattan Transfer--Cheryl Bentyne, Tim Hauser, Alan Paul and Janis Siegel--show their unique skills in this spectacular performance live at Nakano Sun Plaza Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Songs:...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: The Manhattan Transfer
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, Jazz
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/01/2000
Original Release Date: 01/01/1986
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1986
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, English

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Movie Reviews

Good show, but can we get a more current one?
John S. Harris | Memphis, TN | 03/03/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is the DVD release of a 1986 show from Japan. This was released on VHS and Cassette in the late 1980's. Fans of The Manhattan Transfer know that their talents and body of work is nearly unsurpassed, so why do we have only one DVD concert of them, and why did we have to dig back over 15 years to get it? There is nothing really wrong with this concert DVD (aside from the fact that the 80's hairdos and stage costumes look really silly now), but their fanbase should be large enough by now to warrant releasing a more recent slate of shows. In this show's defense, the material on their "Vocalese" album (which this show was part of a tour to promote) is extremely difficult to sing live, and the Transfer manage to pull it off without missing a beat."
This is a poor indication of the group's quality,
Kenneth S. Frebowitz | Dresher, PA USA | 12/30/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)

"though not their fault. The production of the DVD is almost amatuerish. The visuals are impeccable, but when you buy a music DVD, you hope for quality of sound as well. This sound seems to have been recorded using a microphone hung in the middle of the auditorium. Frequently, the vocals are uninteligible, drowned out by the back-up group. If you have ever seen them in concert, you know what a treat the experience is. In this case, however, the effort of the group is evident but the results of the recording are disappointing at best."
Seeing Is Believing
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 06/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Manhattan Transfer has now been performing for an amazing 36 years (26 for Cheryl Bentyne), and it's doubtful they'll ever top "Vocalese," the dazzling recording on which they manage to execute John Hendricks' Joycean transcriptions of Clifford Brown-Sonny Rollins' solos without missing a beat. So challenging is the repertory on this particular set that I would have imagined some "creative" studio editing was responsible for the final product. Imagine again. This live concert filmed in Japan is living proof of the utter technical precision of the group not to mention its showmanship and stage-savvy choreography.

The highlights are Sonny Rollin's "Airegin" and, my personal favorite, Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring" (retitled "Sing Joy Spring"). Almost equally enjoyable are Thad Jones' "To You" and, of course, Joe Zawinul's "Birdland." Much of the remainder of the program falls under the category of "classic rock." I confess to fast-forwarding through much of this material, even though it's clearly a crowd pleaser with the Japanese and, to be fair, it gives the group a chance to "de-pressurize" a bit.

Certainly this is the crowning, unmatchable visual documentary of the group at its peak and should be sought out. Be careful, however, that you don't initially order (as I did) the shortened, overly produced "music video" version, also entitled "Vocalese." And disregard the preceding reviews. The repertory and sound quality are both just fine.

Some fans of jazz have traditionally dissed groups like Manhattan Transfer (or Lambert, Hendricks & Ross or the Four Freshmen) on the grounds that it's less jazz than "copy cat" music performed by non-musicians (i.e. vocalists). Bassist Charles Mingus was perhaps the most outspoken critic of such attempts to "transcribe" jazz into "vocalese." Whether or not these four exceptional singers are jazz musicians or jazz "ambassadors," all I know is that they've given me pleasure and inspired me to return to the originals.

The group has had a tremendous run, but before they run out of transfers and pull into the last station, I hope they record some more jazz transcriptions--preferably Mingus tunes like "Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat," "Fables of Faubus," "Pithecanthropus Erectus," and "Better Git It in Your Soul." (I can hear Mingus tap dancing in his grave.)"
What A Concert, What A Vocal Group!
James M. Loveday | Bastrop, Louisiana United States | 10/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have been a Manhattan Transfer fan ever since I first heard them sing "Operator" and have nearly everthing they have recorded. After searching nearly every store, web site, etc trying to find a video of a "Transfer" concert, what a joy it was to come across this DVD recorded during their tour of Tokyo. It was recorded in 1986 and contains many songs from the "Vocalese" release as well as favorites from their career. If you have thought that the Manhattan Transfer was just a novelty act, you owe yourself a look at this! By the way, this was the 1st DVD I purchased. Even casual fans need to treat themselves to this concert! Janis Siegel rocks the house with her lead vocals on "Boy From New York City". These folks are the best at what they do!"