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Take 6

 

 

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Take 6 is a vocal harmony group from from 6 men who attended Oakwood college.  They are (as shown in the pictuer above starting at the bottom and going clockwise):  Mark Kibble, Cedric Dent, David Thomas, Joey Kibble,  Claude V. McKnight IV (brother of the popular r&b singer Brian McKnight), and Alvin "Vinnie" Chea. Their first album, self-titled, released in 1988, is a pure accapella album that is out of this world.  (It is listed in my top 30).  They came out of nowhere and got major publicity drawing praise from everywhere, including a glowing support from Quincy Jones.  This album landed them 5 Grammy Nominations, in which the group won 4.  Their second album, So much 2 say, released in 1990, is also excellent, though I am partial to the first one.  It has one song with instrumentation, otherwise, it also is Acapulca.  After that album, Mervyn Warren left the band to pursue his own career.  He was replaced with Mark Kibble's brother Joey.  They released an excellent Christmas album in 1991 that featured a guest appearance by the Yellowjackets.

After a lengthy break, they came back in 1994 with Join the Band in which the group started using instruments more (only 2 songs are accapella) and started branching out more into r&b.  However, their music showed a lot of variety, as they invited Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Queen Latifah to join them as guest artists.  They also did a stirring tribute to Miles Davis called For Miles in which Joey Kibble mimics a muted trumpet with his voice. Their latest album Brothers continues the trend of moving toward R&B, while maintaining their gospel roots.

They have appeared as guest artists for many performers, such as K.D. Lang (on the Dick Tracy soundtrack), Brian Duncan, and the Yellowjackets, to name a few. They also sang the call letters to the radio station in the movie Do the Right Thing and sang the nominations for one of the categories in the 1997 Academy Awards.

Their music consists of very tight and complex harmonies.  This isn't nerdy barber shop quartet music, and it's much more complex (and superior) to that of Boys 2 Men. They are rooted with a jazz and gospel background, and their accapella music has very upbeat moments, in which some songs they use finger snaps, claps, and other parts of the body to make great rhythms.  At times, you swear there are instruments, however, I have seen them pull this off live, and it's legit.  They are excellent in live performances as well.  I have seen them 3 times and went away in awe each time.  If you want a more jazzy album by them, try the first one (the self-titled one).  If you want to hear more upbeat, with a r&b crossover flavor, try Brothers.  You won't be disappointed.


To learn more about Take 6, go here:

Take 6 - a fan's tribute
Take 6 - the official site

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