Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
186

Take 6: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count Views
Take 6: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year A recording act that's been around a while eventually presents a holiday album. Take 6, the a cappella jazz group whose roots lie on the campus of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Ala., brings The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Claude V. McKnight III formed a group known as Gentlemen's Estate Quartet, which was later joined by Mark Kibble. After a few lineup and name changes, the group became Take 6 in 1987. The group has earned several Grammy awards and has collaborated with a number of other artists, including the Yellowjackets, Stevie Wonder and Don Henley.

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" has a delightful, swinging groove. Using a combination of finger snaps and wordless vocals, the group sounds like a band more than an a cappella ensemble. The vocal harmony is superb.

McKnight and Chea run point on "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," injecting a conversational dialogue to introduce the piece. Chea's bass lead does honor to the original recording by Thurl Ravenscroft, while Chea rolls his R's with emphasis. The background vocals responds to the lead, adding a humorous element, particularly on the "stink, stank, stunk" phrase.

The finger-snapping "The Sugarplum Dance" is a clever take on the Tchaikovsky classic, the wordless chant retaining the song's mystique. Although the voices engage mostly in doo-wop style, there are phrases where one member takes on the role of a muted trumpet.

Take 6 keeps the melodies simple, so that these Christmas favorites are easily recognizable and revered. But the group also puts its personal stamp on each song. For those wanting something other than typical Christmas album fare, "Mr. Grinch" and "I Saw Three Ships" help set this collection apart from others.


Track Listing: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year; White Christmas; Grinch Introduction / The Grinch / You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch; Sleigh Ride; I'll Be Home for Christmas; It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; The Sugarplum Dance (Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy); I Saw Three Ships; Jingle Bells; Christmas Time Is Here.

Personnel: Claude V. McKnight III: vocals; Mark Kibble: vocals; Joel Kibble: vocals; David Thomas: vocals; Cedric Dent: vocals; Alvin Chea: vocals; Shelea Frazier: piano (10), vocal (10).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Heads Up International


CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The Most Wonderful...
Heads Up International
2010
buy
The Standard
The Standard
Heads Up International
2008
buy
[no cover]
Traces
Warner Bros. Records
1981
buy
[no cover]
Black Rose
Warner Bros. Records
1981
buy
[no cover]
Fingertips
Warner Bros. Records
1980
buy
[no cover]
Friday Girl
Warner Bros. Records
1979
buy
George Benson George Benson
guitar
Kurt Elling Kurt Elling
vocalist
Al Jarreau Al Jarreau
vocalist
Bobby McFerrin Bobby McFerrin
vocalist
Quincy Jones Quincy Jones
producer
Diane Schuur Diane Schuur
vocalist
New York Voices New York Voices
band/orchestra

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.