156

Bobby McFerrin: Beyond Words

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Bobby McFerrin: Beyond Words As the universal language, music has always had one problem: how to translate the words so that everyone will understand their meaning. French, Portuguese, English, and several African dialects are quite familiar to jazz fans. Some listen to German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese or Spanish singers often. Are we fluent in these languages? It's not necessary. Pagliacci had a passionate story to tell, and even those who don't know Italian understood his message. Priests sing the mass in Latin, and only a small percentage of the flock cares to translate literally. It's the general meaning that matters.

Bobby McFerrin overdubs to create a choir of voices that seem to come from different countries around the world. His wordless application for this album resembles a collection of different languages. From Northern Europe, through Africa, Asia, and the Americas, he wanders. By coupling his composed impressions with carefully crafted "languages," McFerrin takes the listener on a world tour. Along the way, he brings us swinging, inventive jazz that derives from the tradition. By limiting the session to vocals with moderate accompaniment, the singer assures the listener of a memorable adventure. Variety weaves through the album gracefully because of its contrasting regional impressions. However, the lack of a sideman soloist to share the spotlight rolls everything together in one long haul. It's like viewing the slides from your brother-in-law's summer vacation.

Two tracks stand out for their variance from McFerrin's suite-like journey. Chick Corea's "Windows" features an exemplary piano/vocal duet, while the final piece finds the singer/pianist/composer wandering aimlessly in search of his audience. It's impressionism, but this time the focus sends the listener back in time to the earliest forms of vocal music. Bobby McFerrin is an outstanding communicator. This time out, he takes the listener on a long and arduous journey, adds a little swing and doo-wop to the itinerary, and ensures that we all catch on.


Track Listing: Invocation; Kalimba Suite; A Silken Road; Fertile Field; Dervishes; Ziggurat; Sisters; Circlings; Chanson; Windows; Marlowe; Mass; Pat and Joe; Taylor Made; A Piece, a Chord; Monks/The Shepherd.

Personnel: Bobby McFerrin- vocals, keyboards; Chick Corea- piano, electric piano; Gil Goldstein- accordion, keyboards; Keith Underwood- wood flutes, contrabass flute; Richard Bona- bass, guitar, percussion; Cyro Baptista- percussion; Omar Hakim- drums; Taylor McFerrin- beatbox on "Taylor Made."

Year Released: 2002 | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC" CD/LP/Track Review Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Stinger" CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 27, 2016
Read "Summergold Promises" CD/LP/Track Review Summergold Promises
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Arclight" CD/LP/Track Review Arclight
by Doug Collette
Published: March 5, 2016
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!