In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Displaying 1-11 of 11 items.
Review: Bobby McFerrin brings it all back home with his new album, spirityouall, re-imagining Americana with beloved spirituals and original songs. Bobby invites us along on his everyday search for grace, wisdom, and freedom, embracing bluegrass and the baroque, heartfelt lyrics and wordless melodies, joy and sorrow. He throws some unexpected new ingredients into the melting pot and invites us to sing together through life's trials and triumphs. Across genres, across boundaries, across generations, spirityouall raises the roof with joyful grooves.
Songlist: Everytime, Swing Low, Joshua, Fix Me Jesus, Woe, I Shall Be Released, Whole World, Gracious, 25:15, Wade, Glory, Jesus Makes It Good, Rest / Yes Indeed
One Minute More
Review: 'Extraordinary Tale' is a marvelously packaged CD that underscores why we love CDs over downloaded mp3s or such. The jewel case folds out to 6 panels, which are all decorated with moody, lowbrow children's book illustrations of mechanical birds, patchwork metal whales, and the group as children in a red-striped boat on a curly-cued sea. Inside a slot is a folded treasure map, where we see an old victrola, spouting fishes, the mechanical birds are singing, and the whale spouts a microphone-a metaphor on the group's experience as the top a cappella group in Australia, perhaps? The different islands on the map have the names of the 13 songs on them, plus the running times. On the flipside of that are the names of the singers, Sally, Naomi, Nick and Andrew, plus the welcome disclaimer: 'This is an a cappella recording. All the sounds on this album were produced by the voices and/or bodies of the ION.' For those not familiar with mixed Vocal Jazz quartet ION, they blew in from Down Under and won the 2003 Harmony Sweeps, and we joined everyone in the sold-out audience in becoming their fans for life. Our favorites among the 13 cuts? Their bluesy, scattish take on Chick Corea's 'Armando's Rhumba,' an understated, deliciously melodic, jazzy hit on the Swing tune 'Don't Wait Too Long,' a heartbreakingly fine soprano lead and background harmonics on Joni Mitchell's 'Both Sides Now,' Sting's 'La Belle Dame Sans Regrets' riffs into an unbelievable lovely scat tapestry; Lennon and McCartney's 'In My Life' fits perfectly into the poignant mood. Group member Andrew Piper gives us a rare, wonderful original, 'One Minute More,' Duke Ellington's 'It Don't Mean A Thing' has a vocal muted trumpet and a vocal percussion solo that you should hear; Ray Charles' 'Hallelujah I Love Her So,' Stevie Wonder's 'Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer,' Sinead O'Connor's 'In This Heart,' Aretha Franklin's 'Since You've Been Gone' and Peter Allen's 'I Still Call Australia Home' are all amazing but this review has gotten absurdly long. Treat yourself to 'Extraordinary Tale,' and thank us later!
Songlist: Armando's Rhumba, Don't Wait Too Long, Both Sides Now, La Belle Dame Sans Regret, In My Life, One Minute More, It Don't Mean A Thing, Hallelujah I Love Her So, Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer, Give Me The Simple Life, In This Heart, Since You've Been Gone, I Still Call Australia Home
The Christmas Song
Review: We will never forget the way these two men and two women from Australia, members of Vocal Jazz group The Idea of North, whose reputation as the best a cappella group in Australia preceded them, strode onto the stage of the 2003 Harmony Sweeps National Finals in San Rafael. They would be the very last to perform a 12-minute set, and the regional winners from around the country, many of whom had performed to standing ovations by the sold-out audience, had set the bar incredibly high. But their first sweet notes were a revelation, and after ION's own roaring standing O, it was obvious to all who the audience favorite and National Champions were. There are 12 tunes here, some of our favorites are a bluesy, finger-popping take on 'The Christmas Song,' 'Christmas Medley,' which blends 'Once in Royal David's City,' 'God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen' and 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' with innovative arrangements; a gentle lullaby new to our ears, 'The Silver Stars are In the Sky' touched and moved us; 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a big-band accompanied celebration; two Salsa band-accompanied versions of 'Mary's Boy Child,' one featuring James Morrison, and a pair of lovely, soaring, orchestra-accompanied songs, 'Candlelight Carol' and 'A Child is Born.' The Pop-flavored title tune is also new to us, a joyous, Jazz band-accompanied greeting to the season. The a cappella 'Angel' with its powerful 'in the arms of the angel' chorus underscores the probable meanness of the nativity. We hold The Idea of North in a special place in our hearts and relate to 'This Christmas' as a gift from this extraordinary quartet!
Songlist: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The Christmas Song, Candlelight Carol, Mary's Boy Child, This Christmas, Angel, The Silver Stars are in the Sky, Once in Royal David's City, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, A Child Is Born, Poverty, I'll Be Home For Christmas
Almost Like Being in Love
Review: The Grammy Award-winning vocal group New York Voices celebrates its 25th anniversary presenting their first full live album with New York Voices Live offering a collection of past favorites and brand new arrangements. A live recording from a concert at the Kolner Philharmonie in Cologne, Germany with the world famous WDR Big Band Cologne, this long-awaited release opens the group's 2013 celebratory year with a bang. New to their repertoire are a jazz rendition of the Annie Lennox pop tune 'Cold,' Darmon Meader's cappella vocal arrangement of the classic Lerner & Lowe standard 'Almost Like Being In Love,' and a swinging take of the Broadway staple 'Love Me or Leave Me.'
Songlist: Baby Driver, Stolen Moments, Love Me or Leave Me, Cold, The World Keeps You Waiting, I Do It For Your Love, Darn That Dream, Almost Like Being in Love, The Sultan Fainted
Let It Snow
Review: A sublime present from one of our favorite groups of all time, Sweden's veteran, groundbreaking mixed-voice Vocal Jazz quintet the Real Group. 'The World for Christmas' is their second holiday album since the critically acclaimed and heavily awarded 'En Riktig Jul.' What we particularly love about this CD is that they've divided the 13 tunes into two parts, 'a relaxed part and an upbeat part, so you can easily choose the Christmas feeling you want to experience! Many of the songs have a little of both, like Mel Torme's 'The Christmas Song' and the sexy, funny, jazzy 'Santa Baby' with some lovely faux horns. Other favorites are, in the relaxed group, Joni Mitchell's sweet, poignant 'River,' group stalwart Anders Edenroth's wonderful, thought-provoking title tune, 'Silent Night' and beautiful Swedish Christmas songs 'Nu Tandas Tusen Juleljus' and 'Glans Over Sjo Och Strand.' Favorites in the upbeat section are a marvelous arrangement of Sammy Cahn's 'Let It Snow,' a bluenote, laid back rendition of 'Sleigh Ride,' the traditional Swedish carol 'Drang-Stalle,' bright, sweet 'Julen Ar Har,' and 'Fina Paket,' all arranged by Anders, and the ringing, infectious round,'Julfemman.' with extensive, colorful liner notes with shapshots showing the group members celebrating Christmas as children and finally together as a group. 'The World for Christmas' is like 13 gifts in a single jewel box-simply give the box to your loved ones, and join them for any number of Christmases opening and marveling at each gift at your leisure!
Songlist: Nu Tandas Tusen Juleljus, The Christmas Song, River, Silent Night, The World For Christmas, Glans Over Sjo Och Strand, Santa Baby, Let It Snow, Drang-Stalle, Sleigh Ride, Julen Ar Har, Julfemman, Fina Paket
Nobody But Yourself
Review: We loved New York City's own 3 men, 2 women Vocal Jazz quintet West Side 5 at the 2010 Harmony Sweeps Finals in San Rafael, their first self-titled EP album, and 'West Side 5,' this remarkable 12-cut debut CD! The 5 have the kind of sophisticated, buttery jazz harmonies, sweet original arrangements of jazz, pop, show tunes and bossa nova songs and some of the best faux horns we've heard. Some favorites are Billy Strayhorn's 'Take the A Train,' the Disney standard 'Someday My Prince Will Come,' Sammy Cahn's 'Call Me Irresponsible' and 'I Fall In Love Too Easily;' George Shearing's 'Lullabye of Birdland,' Jones/Schmidt's poignant 'Try to Remember,' Hupfeld's 'As Time Goes By,' Tim Eller's bright, scattish 'Self-Absorbed, and Newley/Bricusse's 'Pure Imagination.' 'If they can make it there, they'll make it anywhere' is absolutely true, and Lara, Sara, John, Eric & Steven are commonly compared to such elite groups as the Real Group and New York Voices. Great jazz, album and group, don't miss this one!
Songlist: Take the A-Train, Someday My Price Will Come, Nobody But Yourself, Wave, Call Me Irresponsible, In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning, Lullaby of Birdland, As Times Goes By, Try To Remember, Self-Absorbed, I Fall In Love Too Easily, Pure Imagination
Review: Based on the Nat 'King' Cole classic big band recording, this arrangement of 'Orange Colored Sky' stacks a swingin' close harmony quartet on a walking vocal bass with soprano lead (either section or solo). Plenty of syncopated rhythms and playful background lyrics make this very fun to sing. The center 'instrumental' section allows you to feature a quartet of your most impressive part singers. The a cappella arrangement of 'Come Fly With Me' takes the listener on a trip around the world on the wings of one of Frank Sinatra's most iconic songs. Walking bass and playful background parts support a swingin' solo. Vocal percussion optional. Sinatra would get a kick this playful version of his swing classic 'I Get a Kick Out of You', featuring a tenor soloist and a 'vocal string bass' scat solo break. With 'Sing, Sing, Sing' you'll swear you hear an entire big band coming out of your voices in this lyricless take on Benny Goodman's classic recording. Not so easy to sing, but very impressive when all put together and a huge crowd pleaser. No solo, melodic lines move from part to part. vocal percussion is optional.
Songlist: Sing, Sing, Sing, Come Fly With Me, I Get a Kick Out of You, Orange Colored Sky
Review: Winners of the Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals the Australian quartet The Idea of North is one of the most highly regarded vocal jazz groups performing today. 'Just A Closer Walk With Thee' is an old gospel song arranged in a swing, trad jazz style and features each performer with solo sections. It has quasi instrumental parts to sing including trumpet, trombone and even banjos! Originally inspired from the movie sound track, 'White Men Can't Jump' this fun arrangement is sure to leave your audience wanting more. 'Amazing Grace' and 'Sweet Sweet Spirit' retain their gospel meaning and flavor while given the wonderful vocal jazz treatment from the talented arranger Andrew Piper. These arrangements are all highly recommended!
Songlist: When She Loved Me, Amazing Grace, Sweet Sweet Spirit, Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Review: Here's a collection of three song each from three of the greatest songwriters of the classic jazz song - Gershwin, Porter and Ellington. Highly-regarded arranger Jay Althouse offers some stunning, tight, and tasty harmonies for unaccompanied mixed voices that can be performed separately or as three different sets by composer.
Songlist: Night and Day , Just One Of Those Things, You Do Something to Me, Satin Doll, Solitude, It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Nice Work If You Can Get It, I Got Rhythm, Someone to Watch Over Me
Review: A great collection of vocal jazz arrangements by some of the best arrangers in the genre. Bette Midler's sass is captured in this fast, furious and fun arrangement by Deke Sharon of Cole Porter's Miss Otis Regrets. Andrew Sisters-esque 3 part melody above a walking bass line punctuated by brassy horn (vocal) passages. A great 'Story Song', works well as a closer or encore. The Thelonius Monk ballad 'Round Midnight' most recently featured in the movie of the same name. This arrangement starts with 'wind' sounds, a rubato intertwing introduction, then spotlights tense cluster voicings supporting a female soloist throughout. With imaginative reharmonizations, yet good voice leading, this chart is extremely effective and accessible. 'For All We Know' - A lush four-voice a cappella ballad for soprano soloist. The inclusion of the verse at the end is inspired by Mark Murphy's rendition. Commissioned by the New York-based chorus Women Singing, the Scottish folk song 'The Skye Boat Song' is written to evoke images of the stark beauty of the Highlands. The melody that tells the legend of Bonnie Prince Charlie is supported by water ripples and wind that the background voices weave together. In the middle section, the story is told by a narrator. Take a journey through the poetic landscape with rich harmony and soaring lines.
Songlist: The Skye Boat Song, For All We Know, Round Midnight, Miss Otis Regrets
Review: Here's a collection of arrangements by Ward for unaccompanied women's voices. This arrangement of the old Irving Berlin standard 'I Got Rhythm' evokes a Dixieland combo while Ellington's 'Don't Get Around Much Anymore' swings with a fun opportunity for some voices to scat. 'It Was a Lover and His Lass' also has a lot of scat-like syllables (e.g. 'hey-ding-a-ding') while 'Reeds of Innocence' has a strong rhythmic element in the writing, with vocal imitations of flute sounds. It goes along at rather a moderate pace and is not difficult to sing. This is a fun collection for singers and for audiences alike.
Songlist: Don't Get Around Much Anymore, I Got Rhythm , It Was a Lover and His Lass, Reeds of Innocence