THE MANHATTAN TRANSFER — Extensions (review)

THE MANHATTAN TRANSFER — Extensions album cover Album · 1979 · Vocal Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
I remember buying this in the 70s because it featured the quintessential Manhattan Transfer monster hit 'Twilight Zone/ Twilight Tone' and for this song alone it was worth the purchase. The song was legendary in the 70s and the film clip that accompanied it was wonderful retro computer grafix and the band looking spacey in sexy catsuits and futuristic hairstyles was irrisistible. The tune cleverly used the Twilght theme and inserted a number of very infectious melodies and a fantastic instrumental section with synthesizer pulses. The lyrics are using twilight Zone TV themes but revolve them around musical ideas; "when I hear that melody the strange illusion takes over me, through a tunnel of the mind perhaps a vision of future time, suddenly I hear the sound the melody that keeps spinning round, a signpost up ahead is calling from this mystic unknown tone."

Of course this was a one off and a commercial cash in getting a lot of radio play, but the rest of the album is pure jazz and quite inaccessible for the pop radio market. Twilight Zone is really a fish out of water amongst all that jazz. I remember as a teen listening to this album on vinyl and being frustrated as each song apart from Twilight Zone was plain jazz, and I concluded that the style was definitley not for me, after all I was into glam rock such as Kiss and The Sweet and none of the Manhatten Transfer's songs jived with me at all. Birdland, Coo Coo U and Trickle Trickle are full on jazz harmonies, similar to the pardon me boys Andrews Sisters style. Nothing on this is rock apart from the one track so it is a bit of a false advertisement for those who thought the songs would be similar to Twilight Zone.

Nevertheless this was a grand little album that perhaps was my first excursion into a genre I grew to like in my older years. As an intro to jazz it is not all that bad.
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