The next album, Pastiche (Atlantic 19163), lived up to its name - a mixture of various musical styles and genres. By this time, the Manhattan Transfer were experimenting with more open voicings and less block harmony, adding new depth to their vocal precision. Between Pastiche's list of Cole Porter and Duke Ellington songs, the Manhattan Transfer collaborated for the first time with JonHendricks, the vocal jazz legend and one-third of the Lambert, Hendricks and Ross vocal jazz group. The collaboration, "Four Brothers," was originally written by Jimmy Giuffre for Woody Herman's Second Herd. For this song, the Manhattan Transfer replicated - using only their voices and Jon Hendricks' lyrics - the melodies of Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, Herbie Steward and Serge Chaloff, Woody Herman's sax section.

Pastiche sold well in Europe, but could climb no higher than #66 on the American album charts. Tim, Alan, Janis and Laurel toured Europe, playing concerts in support of Pastiche, and listening to different music in anticipation of using some new ideas for a new album. "We had just come back from Europe," said Alan, "we were in Europe for a couple of months touring, and we were scheduled to open in the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, and we had all these new ideas and things that we wanted to present to the public."

"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.





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