Take 6: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (2010)
A capella group Take 6 produces little more than an extended play CD with its holiday offering, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Ten songs clocking in at a slim 33 minutes make the disc a disappointment, save for that precious 33 minutes where the sextet does what it does best: sing. Opting for a majority of secular carols, the group concentrates largely on the popular Christmas canon.
Most outstanding among the 10 selections is the group's arrangement of Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy," from The Nutcracker Suite (1892). Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn dealt successfully with the same material in 1960, and Take 6 extends the music's evolution to the 21st Century. Hip, modern, yet very much in the nostalgia vernacular, Mark Kibble's arrangement takes full advantage of the group's impeccable tone and time as well as the individual talents of the singers to both scat and solo with vocalese. The disc could have only benefited by more music this fine.
Personnel: Alvin Chea: vocals; Cedric Dent: vocals; Joey Kibble: vocals; Mark Kibble: vocals; Claude V. McKnight III: vocals; David Thomas: vocals.
Record Label: Heads Up International