In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Inner Voicesare Los Angeles-based session singers led by vocal arranger Morgan Ames. They have been performing together since the 80s. They have been profiled on CBS Sunday Morning, have toured Japan, performed on KCET, KTLA Morning News, the Jim Belushi Show and many others. They have recorded albums for Rhino, Laurel, Song River and Japanese Victor. They have performed for the Juvenile Diabetes Association, the Betty Ford Center, the Society of Singers, the AME Church and twice for President Reagan. They have sung and/or recorded with Kenny Loggins, David Benoit, Dave Grusin, Johnny Mathis, Dori Caymmi, Smokey Robinson and others. Each Christmas season they perform their highly acclaimed, sold out a cappella show in Los Angeles.
Between them, they have performed, recorded and/or toured with almost every major artist in the business.
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Review: Featuring some of LA's top female vocal harmony talent of the time this is an a cappella favorite of many. Featuring both the voice and the arrangements of the talented Morgan Ames this recording belongs in every a cappella fan's collection.
The Holly And The Ivy
Review: The four members of Inner Voices' bios read like a who's who of session recording. Practice has made perfect, and they are caroling at your door! The female soprano, alto and tenor (one of whom is Morgan Ames, Grammy winning arranger) and male baritone, along with guest vocalist Mervyn Warren of Take 6, have produced an immaculate recording. The luminous sound has been refined and honed until it shimmers. All four singers trade lines on "I Wash My Face in a Golden Vase" (accompanied by keyboard, as is "Christmas in My Dreams"). Soprano Donna McAfee soars on "The Savior is Born," gliding effortlessly up and down the scale with total precision. "Christmas Night in Harlem" captures that NewYork smoky jazz club vibe; "My Father" combines the mixolydian harmonic minor with the traditional Western carol for a haunting, enigmatic result. This sophisticated group satisfies the heart and the mind. Additional bonus of Guest artist Mervyn Warren.
A Christmas Journey
Review: Los Angeles-based four-woman, one man vocal jazz quintet brings us their long-awaited second Christmas album after their critically-acclaimed "Christmas In My Dreams" and "Prairie Jazz." The one man would be Morgan Ames, the group's producer, arranger and alto, and he is masterful at what he does, as are sopranos Shelby and Julie, tenor Sheri and baritone Michael. "Greetings" is a delicious, refreshing collection of 15 tunes, and some of our favorites include originals written by group members, such as Shelby Flint's lovely "State of Grace" and "Greetings Of The Season" and Morgan's romantic "Merry Christmas, Sweetheart." Also very fine are the bluesy "Silent Night," the slightly scary "Zat You, Santa Claus?," Sammy Cahn's "Christmas Waltz," Chas. Brown & Gene Redd's plaintive "Please Come Home for Christmas," John Wallowitch & G. Shocker's lyrical, nostalgic "A Christmas Journey," a jazzy, salsa-flavored "Jingle Bell Rock," Joe Van Winkle & R. Sherman's joyous "Christmas Time In New Orleans" and the moody "Carol Of The Wildwood," with additional lyrics by Morgan. Every Christmas season Inner Voices holds their sold-out, acclaimed Christmas show in LA, and given the great material we've heard on "Greetings of the Season," this year's will be particularly wonderful. There is some light accompaniment here, but we loved every cut on the album, so don't miss this one!
Home on the Range
Review: Manhattan Transfer meets the Sons Of The Pioneers!! The incomparable Morgan Ames had produced, arranged and recorded the selections which she describes as "a group of a cappella cowboy and mountain songs based on pure historical American, plus a few strays, filtered through my jazz-based sense of harmony and four city singers." She goes on to add... "I grew up looking for home on the range, pretending to be Annie Oakley on rented horses at the Burbank Stables. But singing this music, our shared American heritage, was a gift and that's how we offer it to you." Now, all isn't just tradition as occasionally a new lyic or two is added, but the singers Shelby Flint, Morgan, Melissa Mackay and Michael Mishaw manage to maintain a sensibility of tradition while creating an entirely new feel, exactly as Morgan describes in her quoted comments above. Real traditional tunes such as "Home on the Range," "Old Diamond Joe," (a multi-track overdubbed recording sung entirely by Michael) and "Old Chisholm Trail" are mixed in with a leavening of newer tunes such as "Witchi Tai To," "My Real Home," and "Springtime in the Rockies." The only difficulty we face in reviewing a recording of this calibre is expressing our enthusiasm without going overboard!