Manhattan Transfer’s Tim Hauser Dies

Manhattan Transfer founder Tim Hauser has died. The vocal harmony group announced the news on its Facebook page Thursday afternoon. The singer/producer was 72.

The act did not disclose the cause of death but asked that fans respect the family’s wishes for privacy by leaving notes of condolence on the Facebook page in lieu of phone calls or emails.

Manhattan Transfer’s Janis Siegel, Cheryl Bentyne and Alan Paul released the following joint statement:

“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.”

Photo: Doug Seymour
Scranton Jazz Festival, Scranton, Pa.

Although Hauser was a former Madison Avenue marketing executive, he had been making music long before going into business. He started singing professionally at age 15, launching his career by founding a teenage doo wop/R&B/rock quintet called The Criterions. Hauser also starting producing music as a teen with The Viscounts’ 1959 cover of “Harlem Nocturne.”

Hauser formed an earlier version of The Manhattan Transfer, which had a country/R&B sound. The group put out one album and dissolved in the early ‘70s.

The Manhattan Transfer that you know today released its self-titled debut in 1975. The group has since put out more than two dozen releases. Most recently, the group put its spin on several Chick Corea compositions for its 2009 album, The Chick Corea Songbook.

The act picked up its first Grammy award for “best jazz fusion performance, vocal or instrumental” for its take on the Weather Report’s “Birdland,” which is included on 1979’s Extensions. Siegel was also recognized with a Grammy for the tune for “best arrangement for voices.” 

In 1981 the act became the first to win Grammy Awards in both the Pop and Jazz categories in the same year. “Boy From New York City” took home the award for “best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal” and “Until I Met You (Corner Pocket)” was crowned the winner for “best jazz performance, duo or group.” The tracks hail from 1979’s Extensions.

The Manhattan Transfer has dates booked through spring 2015. The group says, “We will continue to tour as scheduled and continue to share Tim’s incredible legacy.”