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Interview:
Manhattan Transfer's still the boys, and girls, from New York City
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

After more than 40 years, nothing really slows the Manhattan Transfer down. Not even a missing member.

Cheryl Bentyne, who's been with the group since 1978, is on sabbatical to take care of what she calls "a surprise illness" although she promises that "I shall return!" New York singer Margaret Dorn is keeping her seat warm, and Transfer mate Janis Siegel says the group is taking the development in stride.

"It's an unusual situation, but one that is bringing out the best in everybody," says Siegel, 59. "Margaret is a complete joy. It's really easy to work with her. And it's been really interesting, in teaching her the songs, to revisit some of these tunes I haven't looked at or analyzed for years and years.

"(Bentyne) will be back in just a few months, so it's OK. Really, what group hasn't had one substitution in 40 years? We were overdue, probably."

Siegel, Bentyne, Tim Hauser and Alan Paul are also moving forward on a vaults project they've been working on for same time, revisiting songs from the group's archives that never made it to an album. The group hopes to have it out this year, and Siegel says it's been an enjoyable aural walk down memory lane for the quartet.

"It's been really great," she reports. "It's just stuff we always wanted to record and never did. Sometimes you come up with an idea and you discard it for whatever reason and then you come back to it and it works. We're talking about doing a new album, too, so to have two things like that in the works is really exciting for us."

The Manhattan Transfer performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at Sound Board in the Motor City Casino and Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $36 and $33. Call 1-866-782-9622 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.

Web Site: www.motorcitycasino.com

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