TAKE 6: The Standard (Label: Heads Up)

TAKE 6: The Standard

Take 6 are America’s premier a cappella group and ‘The Standard’ is their first album for jazz label Heads Up. As with most of their previous albums the music’s a mix of jazz, soul and gospel, though the emphasis here is clearly on jazz with the album’s two clear focuses being Miles Davis’ ‘Seven Steps To Heaven’ and Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘A Tisket A Tasket’. On the former Al Jarreau and Jon Hendricks are drafted in to supplement the group, while, with what has now become standard practise, Ms. Fitzgerald’s ‘Tisket’ vocals are grafted onto Take 6’s new arrangement. All clever stuff and a chance for all to show off their virtuosity. Same goes for the Harlem Globetrotters’ theme ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, Kermit’s song ‘Bein’ Green’ and ‘Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans’ which features a typically mellifluous lead from Aaron Neville. The big soul cut is a version of ‘What’s Going On’, featuring Brian McKnight (brother of Take 6’s Claude McKnight) though for passion guest Shelea Frazier’s interpretation of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ wins hands down. Other cuts include a version of Nat Cole’s ‘Straighten Up And Fly Right’, a take on ‘Windmills Of Your Mind’, a cover of Quincy Jones’ ‘Grace’ and the gospel standard ‘Shall We Gather At The River’. All feature faultless harmonies and fans of the group will relish them all.
(BB) 3/5