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).

Title: Vocabularies | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: EmArcy


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Liquid Melodies" CD/LP/Track Review Liquid Melodies
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Cuts" CD/LP/Track Review Cuts
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "My Head is Listening" CD/LP/Track Review My Head is Listening
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Evergreen (Canceled World)" CD/LP/Track Review Evergreen (Canceled World)
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Gratitude" CD/LP/Track Review Gratitude
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Dreamsville" CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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