A Cappella Jazz Group TAKE 6 celebrates the season with THE MOST WONDEFUL TIME of the YEAR at the BROOKLYN CENTER for the PERFORMING ARTS – December 11th
A cappella group Take 6 has been mixing elements of jazz, gospel, R&B and vintage doo-wop for nearly 25 years. Winners of 10 GRAMMY® Awards, 10 Dove Awards, one Soul Train Award and two NAACP Image Awards, the influential sextet has made an indelible musical and cultural mark in the past quarter century. The group lends their unique flavor for the holiday season with the October 2010 Heads Up release, A Wonderful Time of the Year. Get into the holiday spirit with Take 6 at the WALT WHITMAN THEATRE at the BROOKLYN CENTER for the PERFORMING ARTS – Saturday, December 11th. Stage time is 8pm. Tickets are $25-$45. The Center is located at 2900 Campus Road in New York. For tickets call 718-951-4500.
Every member of this brilliant vocal team – Claude McKnight III, Mark Kibble, Joey Kibble, David Thomas, Dr. Cedric Dent and Alvin Chea – has held onto fond childhood memories of the holidays and made them a part of their adult lives. The timeless magic is very much a part of the their new holiday CD, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, a collection of seasonal favorites that are as heartwarming as a crackling fire and a festooned evergreen. The ten-song set is scheduled for an October 5, 2010, release on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group.
The primary objective in the making of the album was to create a sense of familiarity, says McKnight, who founded Take 6 in the ‘80s with some classmates from Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. “We wanted all the songs on this album to be the kind that people would hear and say, ‘Oh, yeah, I sing that at Christmas time,’” he says. “We each picked songs that we sing with our families every year at the holidays.”
Mark Kibble, who arranged six of the album’s ten tracks, focused on keeping things simple, yet incorporating some of the harmonic spin that has become the Take 6 trademark. “The basic idea was to just let the Christmas melody ring through, and present it in a way that’s interesting but still familiar,” he says.
The set opens with the lighthearted title track, then segues into Irving Berlin’s classic “White Christmas,” which rides atop a percussive island groove arranged by David Thomas. What follows is “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” a playful romp inspired by Dr. Seuss’ animated musical tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Amid the well-known verses that describe the bitter mountain hermit who attempts to steal Christmas from Whoville, McKnight and Chea trade vocal riffs peppered with comical banter.
Further into the sequence, the richly layered yet understated rendition of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” walks a fine line between the sacred and the secular. One of the most intriguing tracks on the record is “The Sugarplum Dance,” a variation on Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” (from the Nutcracker Suite) that’s equal parts jazz and doo-wop – with a smoky muted trumpet line sung by Joey Kibble.
The album closes with “Christmas Time Is Here,” the Vince Guaraldi composition made famous in the classic Charlie Brown Christmas program, first televised in December 1965. The track features guest vocalist and pianist Shelea Frazier, who previously appeared on The Standard, the 2008 Take 6 release that generated three GRAMMY® nominated songs.
In the end, says Kibble, accessibility was the overriding objective in crafting these holiday tracks. “We wanted to record songs that were simple enough so that anybody listening could follow the melodies and sing along,” he says, “and yet still be ourselves and give a little bit of the harmonic backdrop that Take 6 is known for.”