The Manhattan Transfer Live was recorded by The Manhattan Transfer live at Manchester on 23 April 1978, Bristol on 28 April 1978, and the Hammersmith Odeon Theatre, London, on 2 May 1978. The album was produced by Tim Hauser and Janis Siegel. This was the final album made with Laurel Massé.
The album was not originally published in the United States, under the catalogue number SD 19218, belonging to the series of Atlantic Records for the U.S. original publications, was used for some local editions, as in Sweden and in Australia. In the US the album was published as an LP in 1979 by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in a collector's edition under the name "Original Master Recording" (discs made from the master original) For many years, ending in 2005,
The Manhattan Transfer Live was the only album of the group that was not reissued in the US on CD. Warner-Pioneer in Japan released a CD version in 1987.
The cover of the standard editions of Atlantic Records was described by Janis Siegel as "the worst cover in history (perhaps only after Mecca for Moderns and Coming Out, is a drawing in a cartoon style of the four members of the group, and was reused for the re-release on CD of the Wounded Bird Records of 21 June 2005, while that of the edition Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab is a photograph depicting the silhouette of the group at twilight (photography included in the inner envelope of the Atlantic version).
The Manhattan Transfer is a jazz vocal group founded in 1969 that has explored a capella, vocalese, swing, standards, Brazilian jazz, rhythm and blues, and pop music.
There have been two editions of the Manhattan Transfer, with Tim Hauser the only person to be part of both. The first group consisted of Hauser, Erin Dickins, Marty Nelson, Pat Rosalia, and Gene Pistilli.
The second version of the group, formed in 1972, consisted of Hauser, Alan Paul, Janis Siegel, and Laurel Massé.
In 1979, Massé left the group after being badly injured in a car accident and was replaced by Cheryl Bentyne.
The group's long-time pianist, Yaron Gershovsky, accompanied the group on tour and served as music director.
Trist Curless from the Los Angeles a cappella group m-pact became a permanent member in October 2014 following Hauser's death.