*There was a happening in New York City at Town Hall on June 11: Take 6 met The Manhattan Transfer! They showed us why they have 20 Grammy Awards between them as well as Dove Awards, millions of records sold worldwide – and why their audiences love them!
This was not your ordinary show where two groups do a set and come together for one or two numbers at the end. This was a musical event, aptly title “The Summit” as it contained some of the highest musical moments this audience clearly experienced from their standing ovations mid-show to their thunderous applause and demands for more.
The star-studded audience rose to its feet when Take 6 paid tribute to New York’s own legendary Ben E. King with whom Take 6 recorded a soon-to-be-released version of King’s classic “Stand By Me” in one of his last studio sessons featuring background vocals by Cissy Houston, Gerald Alston, Billy Brown, Alyson Williams, Kevin Owens, Kirsten Thien and Knoelle Higgensen. Angela King, Ben E. King’s daughter, represented her family as Take 6 paid homage and was acknowledged by the group.
During the evening, The Manhattan Transfer paid tribute to Tim Hauser, their founder who passed away October 2014, with the great aplomb and elegance, hallmarks of their storied success.
From the opening moments when we thought The Manhattan Transfer would open the show alone with their hit “Killer Joe,” but suddenly Take 6 appeared. These two legendary vocal powerhouse groups shared the stage for seven numbers throughout the evening. They thrilled the audience with their best known hits – from Take 6’s “Spread Love” to The Manhattan Transfer’s “Boy From New York City. ” They shared each other’s career highlights with The Manhattan Transfer’s “Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” when Claude McKnight and Mark Kibble joined the Transfer to The Transfer joining Take 6 on “Straighten Up an Fly Right.”
An interesting aside here – check out (immediately below) The Manhattan Transfer and Take 6 singing for and with Kareem Abdul Jabbar on this tune after the throngs demanded encores to witness a truly unique and fun coda moment. Whether covering Stevie Wonder or Jon Hendrick’s vocal lyrics, these two super groups tipped their hats to the evening’s festival theme as part of The Blue Note Jazz Festival and gave New York one of its most memorable concerts, ever.
Sandra Trin DaCosta