Track review of "The Sugarplum Dance (Dance of The Sugarplum Fairy)"
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.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.