In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
"Just 4 Kicks is an a cappella vocal jazz quartet." That's kind of like saying the Empire State Building is a skyscraper. It's true, but it doesn't begin to describe the experience of hearing this amazing wacky, virtuoso vocal jazz ensemble for the first time.
Four uniquely talented and musically successful vocalists from the West Coast, each with independent careers in the music industry, were thrust together at several Northwest jazz festivals in 1993, and a quartet emerged! Just 4 Kicks' Kirby Shaw, from Ashland, Oregon, is one of the most well-known choral and vocal jazz composers/arrangers of our time. Randy Crenshaw is among the first-call studio singers and arrangers in Los Angeles. Four Freshmen alumnus Kirk Marcy directs the internationally-acclaimed vocal jazz ensemble Soundsation at Edmonds Community College, just north of Seattle. Vijay Singh, widely known for his versatility as a composer, arranger, soloist, and director of the vocal jazz program at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, rounds out the quartet.
Just 4 Kicks began as a diversion from these active careers in a spirit of fun and spontaneous musicality. Now, to their great surprise and delight, this talented group finds themselves in demand at jazz festivals and clinics throughout the United States and Canada. With the release of their fourth CD, entitled "JOYFUL NOISE," Just 4 Kicks covers even more stylistic ground than ever before, singing a wildly adventurous all-new set of sacred material, arranged by the four Kickboyz themselves. Ranging far afield, from reggae, gospel/funk, and bluegrass, to classical choral, calypso, swing, and hymn tunes, they happily expand the parameters of a cappella vocal group singing, while retaining their love for spontaneous vocal improvisation and their signature collective sense of humor.
Since putting their quartet together, Just 4 Kicks has become a staple at jazz festivals, clinics, and concerts throughout the United States and Canada. As charismatic performers and strong educators, they are able to present themselves and their entertaining art in an engaging way that audiences of every demographic stripe and students of all ages can appreciate, applaud, understand, and learn from.
Displaying 1-3 of 3 items.
A Quiet Place
Review: The four players in Just 4 Kicks are only four of the most respected (and frequently employed) arrangers and educators in the music industry. Their talent is only surpassed by their prodigious accomplishments, the results of which are ours to appreciate. Obviously influenced by the brilliant vocal jazz groups of the '50's and '60's, most notably the Four Freshmen and Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, 'All In Good Time' is adventurous and exuberant. Billy Strayhorn's comically ironic 'Everything But You' is one of the great swing tunes in the lexicon, and Just 4 Kicks stands in for an entire jazz combo, tossing off brass solos and a drum breakdown. The arrangement of 'Alice In Wonderland' frequently voices the harmony, including the enticing ninth chords, by implying the root, rather than stating it overtly. 'I'm Walkin',' popularized by 'Fats' Domino and arranged here by Kirby Shaw, retains the boogie-woogie party mood of the original and kicks it up a notch - now that's impressive. Many of the songs feature furious scatting, all done live. Don Shelton of the Hi-Lo's guests on 'Green Dolphin Street,' and the Bobs' Joe Finetti stops by to supply vocal percussion on Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition.'
Songlist: I'm Walkin', Everything But You, Alice In Wonderland, Black Orpheus, On Green Dolphin Street, Her Bright Smile, Poppity-Pop, All Blues, Superstition, Every Time We Say Goodbye, Blizzard Of Lies, Take The "A" Train, A Quiet Place
Jesus Loves Me
Review: Talented, highly-respected music industry educators and arrangers Kirby Shaw, Randy Crenshaw, Kirk Marcy and Vijay Singh were asked by a dear friend, the minister of music at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Salem, OR, if Just 4 Kicks would perform at an upcoming concert and service at St. Paul's. His parameters were simple: 'It needs to be all sacred music, but it needs to be Just 4 Kicks!' The group decided to accept the opportunity as a chance for rejuvenation that it needed, and immediately the creative juices started flowing within the quartet. The event was a huge success, and soon the group found itself in the studio, recording a fresh new book of tunes. We can see from the song list, there's a lot of diversity in these 11 tunes, from the jazzy 'Sermonette,' scattish 'Jesus Loves the Little Children' and 'Come Sunday,' to a Reggae-flavored, manic 'Jesus Loves Me;' to a couple of Bob Dylan tunes, the bluesy 'Gotta Serve Somebody' and the Reggae-arranged 'Man Gave Names To All The Animals,' there's lots of fun stuff here. Other favorites are a hip, finger-popping 'Daniel in the Lion's Den,' bluenote 'A Child is Born,' a foot-tapping Bluegrass take on 'Walk On' and a hauntingly harmonic 'A Quiet Place.' We've always loved Just 4 Kicks, and we love this album-it's a great new direction for these talented men, and we look forward to hearing more inspirational, upbeat material like 'Joyful Noise' from them!
Songlist: Sermonette, Gotta Serve Somebody, Jesus Loves Me, Come Thou, Almighty King, Jesus Loves the Little Children, Come Sunday, Man Gave Names to all the Animals, Daniel In the Lion's Den, A Child is Born, Walk On, A Quiet Place
Review: Put Randy Crenshaw, Kirby Shaw, Kirk Marcy and Vijay Singh in a recording studio, add guest Joe 'Beat Box' Finetti on oh-so-funky vocal percussion, and you've got the kind of down-and-dirty jazz recording that bobbed Grandma's hair! This is bluesy, scat-singing, wide-open, fun jazz that does nothing but add to our Summit-gained admiration for this quartet and for the members individually. 12 cuts, some of our favorites: 'Tone Whole,' 'Never Make Your Move Too Soon,' 'Oo-Shoo-Be-Do-Be,' 'Wonderlicks,' an homage to 10 Stevie Wonder classics, 'Failure to Swing,' 'What's a Guy Supposed To Do?,' the very funny Scottish takeoff, 'Donald, Where's Your Trousers?' 'Indiana' and the spiritual 'Deep River.' 'Pants' is well-named, a powerful, funny, surprising and impressive kick!
Songlist: Tone-Whole, Never Make Your Move Too Soon, Oo-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be, Wonderlicks, A Night In Tunisia, I Get the Neck of the Chicken, Failure to Swing, The Rose, What's A Guy Supposed To Do?, Donald, Where Are Your Trousers?, Indiana, Deep River