Thursday, January 28, 2010
All about JaLaLa
Over the past few weeks we’ve referred to JaLaLa, Laurel’s trio with Janis Siegel of Manhattan Transfer and Lauren Kinhan of New York Voices. Well, just in time for the centennial celebration of Johnny Mercer’s birth they’ve come out with the perfect gift. That Old Mercer Magic, produced by the formidable Miss Siegel, blends their dreamy harmonies with the work of one of America’s great tunesmiths. As they have a few gigs coming up in early February (check out Where in the World are the Redheads to the right of this column for details) we thought it was the perfect time to post the group’s official bio and a track from the album. Don’t forget, we’re giving away a copy of this very album next week, all you have to do is guess our Monday Mondegreen and you’re eligible to be chosen at random for your very own copy.
Janis Siegel and Laurel Massé, founding members of the vocal group The Manhattan Transfer, have long shared a love of the great girl groups of American pop music like the Boswell Sisters, the Ronettes, and Goldie and the Gingerbreads. In 2000, they banded together briefly with fellow Transfer singer, Cheryl Bentyne, to form Moxie, selling out a weekend engagement at New York's famous Birdland and quickly developing a devoted following. But the Transfer touring schedule and Massé's solo career (she left the Transfer in 1979) made scheduling difficult, and when Bentyne and her family moved to Los Angeles, the three decided to part company. The dream of a close-harmony female trio stayed very much alive, though, and in 2006 Laurel and Janis welcomed New York Voices' Lauren Kinhan into the group. The three singers began to meet often to sing through arrangements of classic American standards and original material, but once again, the scheduling of performances proved difficult. With the Transfer, the Voices, and Massé actively touring, it seemed that there might never be a moment when the three women would all be available at the same time to perform together.
Then, Siegel was approached by Dare Records in 2008, and asked to produce a CD of Mercer tunes. She took the assignment, and finally the calendars aligned. This was the opportunity that had been so elusive, and That Old Mercer Magic became a showcase and tour-de-force for the new girl trio, now called JaLaLa (for Janis, Laurel, and Lauren).
JaLaLa, the collaboration of three extraordinary singers who each have formidable group and solo singing talents, is performing selected dates in the U.S. in February and June, 2010. Their debut CD, That Old Mercer Magic, is available through Itunes ,Amazon and other outlets.