September 3, 2014
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Janis Siegel: 40 years with Manhattan Transfer
Don Fowler

Janis Siegel, a fantastic vocalist in her own right, has a long and distinguished career that has taken her around the world as a soloist, a member of Bobbie McFerrin’s “Voicestra,” and one fourth of the 10-time Grammy-winning Manhattan Transfer.

There are few of us around these days who remember the original group, which disbanded in 1972, regrouping with a sound that has distinguished them as one of the most innovative quartets in the world.

“I was born in Brooklyn, and had no thoughts of being a singer when I was young,” Janis told me from her home in New York City. “My parents weren’t musical, and music was particularly a part of my life as I was growing up.

“That all changed as I grew older and was exposed to all kinds of music,” she said. “We have to introduce young people to jazz, and the marriage of fusion is one way to attract them.”

Janis raved about her experiences with Bobby McFerrin and his Voicestra.

“He is an absolute genius. He is awesome. He is the greatest. He is a special singer and a special person. I did the Circle Group records with him and have also done a few tours. Just being around him is a wonderful experience.”

Siegel has soloed and recorded her own music, having toured Europe, Japan, Indonesia, and many New York City clubs. She loves her long association with Manhattan Transfer and is looking forward to meeting up again with Jusif Ghandi, the man responsible for bringing great acts like Manhattan Transfer to Cranston’s park Theatre. (“He produced one of our albums.”)

What will they sing on June 23?

“Wow, I’m not sure,” she said. “We have a 40-year repertoire.”

Manhattan Transfer will bring back many memories for a lot of us and hopefully introduce new fans to this amazingly talented group. Personally, I can’t wait to hear that sound again.

For tickets call the Park box office at 467-7275.


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