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The Manhattan Transfer

The Manhattan Transfer
Suntory Commercial Shoot
June 1983 – Raleigh Studios (on Melrose)
Hollywood, CA

It was my great honor to work with The Manhattan Transfer for many years during the 1980’s. Whether photographing them in concert, shooting publicity stills with Rick Dees at KIIS-FM, riding in a packed elevator with them & Ahmet Ertegun, covering an opening night party on the patio at Spago, or documenting the making of their Grammy Award winning album – Vocalese - capturing magical moments with the Transfer are simply too many to count. So perhaps sharing the story of how one photo launched a nearly a ten year relationship, would be fitting.

I was first asked to work for The Manhattan Transfer when their publicist, Dan Acree (who was also the publicist for The Beverly Theatre, where I was House Photographer) asked me to shoot some stills while the group was filming a Suntory Commercial Video for their new song “American Pop.” The shoot was the summer of 1983, at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood and involved my shooting behind the scenes, and in between takes. The group looked wonderfully elegant, dressed all in white and standing in front of massive, Japanese-looking set design. After shooting for several hours, the video wrapped and I came away with plenty of photos for their promotional use. As was my practice, I processed and proofed the film right away, printing a handful of enlargements from negatives that I personally felt were strong.
This time, there was one shot that I fell in love with from the minute I saw it. What stands out about this shot is that is was the 37th photo on a roll of 36! Which means, it was somewhat of a miracle that it existed at all. Occasionally with 35mm film, if you loaded it a certain way, you could ‘squeeze’ another shot or two out of the roll. So that was the case with this image (SEE LEFT). What made this occurrence all the more poignant is the rest of this story…

Soon after the Suntory shoot, Dan Acree phoned again asking if I might have any strong shots of the group as they were looking for a new Tour Photo. Evidently they had looked at hundreds of photos the past few months, and could not come to an agreement about a poster shot for the upcoming tour. Going with my gut by standing up for a photo I love, I delivered an 11 x 14 print of photo No. 37 to Dan Acree at their Avnet Management office in Burbank. Dan was literally getting on a plane that afternoon with the group and was pulling his hair out trying to nail down a new tour photo. He looked at my photo, tucked it into his briefcase and said “Well, let’s give it a shot!”

The next day I got the phone call that would change my professional life. It was Dan was saying: “They love it! They ALL love it!” And so, a Tour Photo was born!”
Tour Photo
Tour Photo
'American Pop'
'American Pop'
1986 Grammy's
1986 Grammy's
w The Count Basie Band
w The Count Basie Band
w Dizzy Gillespie
w Dizzy Gillespie
Jon & Janis
Jon & Janis
Leonard & Jon
Leonard & Jon
 w  Leonard Feather
w Leonard Feather

Cheryl w Dizzy 1984
Cheryl w Dizzy 1984
Angela, Arielle & Jon
Angela, Arielle & Jon
Tim w Thad Jones
Tim w Thad Jones
 In the Booth
In the Booth

w Bobby McFerrin
w Bobby McFerrin
Alan Paul
Alan Paul
  Tim & Alan
Tim & Alan

 Janis Siegel
Janis Siegel
 Tim Hauser
Tim Hauser
 Ritchie Cole & Janis
Ritchie Cole & Janis






Group Cuddle!
Group Cuddle!







Yaron Gershovsky
Yaron Gershovsky
 Boris Kozlov
Boris Kozlov
 Cheryl Bentyne
Cheryl Bentyne
 Steve Hass
Steve Hass


  July 26, 2014
July 26, 2014

 Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
Alan & Nancy
Alan & Nancy
Cheryl, Nancy,  Janice
Cheryl, Nancy, Janice
Nancy & Tim
Nancy & Tim