489

Bobby McFerrin: VOCAbuLarieS

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Bobby McFerrin: VOCAbuLarieS For nearly thirty years, Bobby McFerrin's illustrious career has proven that there is no instrument like the human voice. With an ability to cover any vocal range, his spontaneous inventions have spanned inventive a cappella singing, wonderful mimicries and global dialects, through memorable performances and recordings with the likes of the Vienna Philharmonic, Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock, or demonstrating the power of the pentatonic scale at the 2009 World Science Festival. A true virtuoso, McFerrin is far more than just the pop sensation who delivered to the world his signature 1988 hit song "Don't Worry Be Happy."

VOCAbuLarieS comes eight years after McFerrin's previous recording, and it is his most challenging release to date. It is one that incorporates the ten-time Grammy winner in collaboration with over fifty vocalists through the meticulous technical guidance of composer/producer/singer Roger Treece, a member of McFerrin's vocal ensemble, Voicestra. Seven years in the making, the project includes a diversity of voices recorded in small groups to create a "virtual choir" with over 1400 vocal tracks and lyrics in multiple languages.

As the liner note aptly states, this is "through-composed music that's got groove." The seven compositions are all defined by their playfulness and infectious rhythms, as well as their unique vocalizations and interplay. With dazzling harmonies and multiple progressions, songs such as "Baby" and "The Garden" (taken from McFerrin's unappreciated yet brilliant Medicine Man (EMI, 1990)) are like pieces in a quilt. Each section is detailed and when woven together forms a more elaborate work.

McFerrin's interest in diverse cultures is evident throughout. "Wailers" is akin to an African safari where voices traverse different kinds of terrain. "Messages," built around a simple ostinato, contains the referenced lyrics from Arabic to Zulu, creating a veritable utopia of voices. "He Ran To The Train" is a stunning combination of two songs from the aforementioned Medicine Man, "He Ran All The Way" and "The Train" which embodies heart-pulsing syncopation, call and response, and McFerrin's magic touches. The project concludes with the angelic "Brief Eternity," where voices and lyrics intersect blissfully.

Take McFerrin's spellbinding one-man-show, involving audiences, singers, and artists into his exploratory playground, and multiply it. VOCAbuLarieS is the result.


Track Listing: Baby; Say Ladeo; Wailers; Messages; The Garden; He Ran to the Train; Brief Eternity.

Personnel: Bobby McFerrin: lead vocals; Roger Treece: vocals, percussion/synthesizer programming (1-6); Lisa Fischer: vocals; Joey Blake: vocals (1-6); Kim Nazarian: vocals (1-6); Janis Siegel: vocals (1, 2, 3, 5, 6); LaTanya Hall: vocals (1- 6); Luciana Souza: vocals (2-6); Albert Hera: vocals (3-6); Lauren Kinhan: vocals (1, 3, 5, 6); Peter Eldridge: vocals (1, 4, 5, 7); Alexandra Montano: vocals (2, 4, 7); Andrea Figallo: vocals (4, 6, 7); Darmon Meader: vocals (1, 2, 7); Darryl Tookes: vocals (3, 5, 6); Dave Worm: vocals (3, 5, 6); Katie Campbell: vocals (1, 4, 7); Kristina Boerger: vocals (1, 4, 7); Amelia Watkins: vocals (4, 7); Aubrey Johnson: vocals (2, 4); David Root: vocals (4, 7); Everett Bradley: vocals (3, 5); Fletcher Sheridan: vocals (4, 7); Gary Eckert: vocals (1, 2); Mark Johnson: vocals (4, 7); Michele Eaton: vocals ( 4, 7); Michelle Mailhot Vines: vocals (4, 7); Pierre Cook: vocals (5, 6); Rhiannon: vocals (3, 5); Ryland Angel: vocals (4, 7); Sandra Anderson: vocals (1, 7); Beth Quist: vocals (1); Bonnie Denise Christensen: vocals (2); Cole Davis: vocals (7); Curtis King: vocals (3); Daniel Abraham DeVeau: vocals (7); Darren Percival: vocals (2); Datevik Hovanesian: vocals (3); David B. Whitworth: vocals (3); Elizabeth Farnum: vocals (4); Gayla Morgan: vocals (4); Josephine Lee: vocals (1); Judy Doneghy: vocals (1); Kevin Osborne: vocals (1); Lincoln Briney: vocals (2); Marlon Saunders: vocals (5); Michael Steinburger: vocals (4); Michele Weir: vocals (1); Richard Slade: vocals (4); Rosana Eckert: vocals (2); Sussan Deyhim: vocals (3); Theo Bleckmann: vocals (4); Thom Baker: vocals (4); Alex Acuna: percussion (1-6); Donny McCaslin: saxophone (4); Pedro Eustache: woodwinds (4).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: EmArcy | Style: Vocal


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "Skylines" CD/LP/Track Review Skylines
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Jersey" CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "Brückenshlag" CD/LP/Track Review Brückenshlag
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Umbrella Weather" CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 17, 2016

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!