"We were in a very high stressful period," added Janis, "in the sense that we were rehearsing a new show intensely. We were working with Toni Basil on choreography, and it was a lot of new stuff. And we were going so fast, it was literally hitting a brick wall. There were a lot of intense rehearsals. Laurel, I think, fell asleep at the wheel in her car one night - and had a bad car accident."
Laurel Massé's car hit a pole. Besides a broken leg and a broken arm, the accident shattered her jaw, and it was wired shut for about three months. "When she finally came around," said Tim, "and she started getting back out into life again, she said she wanted to try a solo career."
Laurel's solo career included three solo albums, and successful performances at various jazz festivals. "Laurel's still very much active," said Janis. "She's doing a lot of a cappella work, storytelling, that kind of stuff. I spoke with her a few days ago. And during the time of re-evaluation, Laurel decided she didn't want to be in the group any more. It was a very brave decision, and we had to decide whether we wanted to quit ourselves or go on. And we decided to go on."
After Laurel left the group, the rest of the Manhattan Transfer had to make a decision - they knew nobody could replace Laurel Massé - but rather than post full-page cattle-call ads in Variety looking for a new soprano, they put out feelers to friends of theirs, looking for somebody who had the voice, the sass, the total showmanship and dedicated work ethic necessary to be a Manhattan Transfer member.