When a group scored two GRAMMY-Awards with a debut-album, that must be something special. The a capella jazz group Take 6 was successful in getting these desirable awards twice. Perhaps because the group presents a unique style, often copied but never reached. In the following time they scored further GRAMMY-awards for their albums So Much 2 Say (1990), He Is Christmas (1991), Join The Band (1994) and Brothers (1996).

Today's the sextet consists of the singers Mark Kibble, Claude V. McKnight III, Dr. Cedric Dent, David Thomas, Alvin Chea and Joey Kibble. The new album The Standard is their debut on Heads Up International.

“We go into every project saying it will be the best,” comments Claude McKight. “At least the best we’ve ever done, and depending on the concept or the genre, it may be the best that’s ever been done by anyone. When we take on a project or step into a new phase of our career, we’re not afraid to say, ‘Hey, let’s move some mountains.’”

The impetus of the group is to create an album of jazz standards, "a record that will stand up as the jazz vocal album for all time". Sweet Georgia Brown is the best start for this endeavor. This popular song was composed by Pinkard (music) and Ken Casey (words) in 1925. The song was first recorded by bandleader Ben Bernie and his Orchestra and later copied by numerous artists. Take 6 present a perfect rendition in their own unique vocal style.

Nat King Cole's recording of his original song Straighten Up And Fly Right was released in 1943. The story of a monkey and a buzzard echoed on hundreds of jazz records and find its final highlight in the fusion of Take 6 and George Benson. "We decided that, for any given song on this record, we would ask for the person who we thought would make the most sense for the song,” says McKnight. “And everyone we asked said yes. We’ve never really had a problem reaching out and finding whomever it is we wanted. That’s been a blessing for us.”

Miles Davis composed with Victor Feldman Seven Steps To Heaven for his album So Near So Far (1963).  Jon Hendricks, Al Jarreau and German flugelhornist Till Brönner, whose Bossa Nova album Rio will be released mid-September 2008, are the special guest-musicians on this track.

The Academy-awarded Windmills Of Your Mind (1968), originally composed for the movie The Thomas Crown Affair is the further delicacy on Take 6's menu carte. George Gershwin composed Someone To Watch Over Me for the musical Oh, Kay (1926). Take 6's rendition features the superb singer Shelea Frazier. A big talent we'll certainly see again in near future. Roy Hargrove's trumpet is unsurpassed.

Back To You is Take 6's gorgeous approach to R&B and soul. There is some Marvin Gaye in the air. Sit back and wonder: Ella Fitzgerald's voice revives on A Tisket A Tasket, created in the studio using her original vocal from the classic 1938 Decca Records 78. Although one recognizes the technical progress of recording, Take 6 masterly integrates Ella's voice into their concept.

Bein' Green was written by Joe Raposo for the Sesame Street originally performed by Kermit, the frog. According Wikipedia the song is associated with problems with identity, and failure of individuality. Foremost it's a funny interlude with a serious background.

Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?, a song by Eddie DeLange and Louis Alter, was first time  performed by Louis Armstrong in the movie New Orleans (1947). Since many years a jazz standard, this version is featuring the legendary Aaron Neville still keep the flair of old time.

I don't know, how often artists have covered Marvin Gaye 's What's Going on? Especially the Smooth Jazz saxophonists extremely appreciate this tune. For example Everette Harp released in 1997 What's Going On, a tribute to Marvin Gaye's classic 1971 album as part of Blue Note's cover series. A compelling solo artist in his own right, the guitarist Doc Powell received a Grammy nomination for his 1987 interpretation of this Marvin Gaye classic. Marvin Gaye had fought hard to get Motown to release this title. It's an epic song cycle on which Marvin took total control and weaved his observations about inner city youth, the ecology, and race relations. A through ball for Take 6.

The traditional Christian hymn  Shall We Gather At The River was written by Robert Lowry in 1864. Who ever can perform this hymn so perfectly like Take 6 including all octaves male vocals are able to reach. The album is closed by the lovely ballade Grace, which was created by Quincey Jones and Jeremy Lubbock as theme for the Olympic Gymnastics. In addition to the fantastic choir Cedric Dent lays down a superb groove on piano.

The Standard is indeed a real jewel for all friends of vocal jazz and a milestone in the musical history of the a capella jazz group Take 6, vote it for the next GRAMMY.



  • Website
  • CD available in

    • all stores


  • Album information:

    Title: The Standard
    Artist: Take 6
    Year: 2008
    Length: 0:45:59
    Genre: Jazz Vocals
    Label: Heads Up


    01 Sweet Georgia Brown [3:26]
    02 Straighten Up And Fly Right  [3:25]
    03 Seven Steps To Heaven  [5:28]
    04 Windmills Of Your Mind [4:26]
    05 Someone To Watch Over Me  [4:23]
    06 Grace (Pre-Prise) [0:37]
    07 Back To You [4:11]
    08 A Tisket A Tasket [2:37]
    09 Bein' Green [2:04]
    10 Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans? [2:48]
    11 What's Going On [4:13]
    12 Shall We Gather At The River [3:43]
    13 Grace [4:39]