Sunday Night Jazz Showcase
Program #98 (November 29 at 8:00PM)
With its roots in gospel, doo wop, and the sophisticated jazz-influenced singing groups of mid-century America (such as the Hi-Los), the a cappella vocal group Take 6 is both a throwback to an earlier, more genteel era of American music and a precursor for a number of black male pop groups of the '90s, most notably Boyz II Men.
Its members include David Thomas, Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, Mark Kibble, Claude V. McKnight III, and Joey Kibble (who replaced Mervyn Warren).
McKnight and Mark Kibble caught the a cappella bug at Alabama's Oakwood College in the early '80s, forming a vocal group that solidified into Take 6 when singer/arranger Warren joined in 1985.
After signing a pact with the Reunion label in 1988, they recorded arrangements of spirituals and newly composed material on the group's first album, Doo Be Doo Wop Bop! They were quickly picked up by Warner Bros.' Reprise label, for whom they started making smooth yet vocally adventuresome albums that defied pigeonholing other than the all-purpose a cappella label.
Throughout their lengthy career, Take 6 has also recorded Christmas carols, toured with Al Jarreau, appeared on Quincy Jones' all-star Back on the Block album, and utilized instrumental backing (which began with 1994's Join the Band).
1996's Brothers even indicated a turn toward commercial soul music, and the group returned in 1998 with So Cool. We Wish You a Merry Christmas appeared a year later.
The new millennium was a time of rejuvenation; Beautiful World, released in April 2002, showcased an incredible instrumentation and Take 6's new musical approach, while Feels Good furthered the band's prolific career in 2006. Take 6 adopted a jazzier style for their next album, 2008's The Standard, which saw them tackling jazz hits with the help of such musicians as Roy Hargrove, Jon Hendricks, and Al Jarreau.
(story provided by Allmusic)