In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
One of the most popular music forms of the last century, jazz comes in many styles, from the all-instrumental and accompanied to our favorite - vocal. It's an art form that is so identified with the United States, and yet so much great jazz comes from talented groups around the world. Doesn't matter, though, because Jazz transcends language and national borders - warm, luscious tones, smooth sounds and powerful, emotive chords are great anywhere. And vocal jazz is just the icing on a very smooth and delightful cake.
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They were a young, crisply harmonic quartet of sisters who called themselves simply The Lennon Sisters and they made their singing TV debut in 1955 on Lawrence Welk's old-fashioned variety show with sixteen-year-old Dianne (Dee Dee), fourteen-year-old Peggy, twelve-year-old Kathy, and nine-year-old Janet Lennon on board. Their a cappella version of "He" proved a scene-stealing success and America fell hard for these four attractive little innocents and their angelic blend. Welk professionally adopted the girls and The Lennon Sisters became regulars on his show every Saturday night for the next thirteen years. Dubbed "America's Sweethearts of Song," they recorded their first of many albums entitled "Let's Get Acquainted" in May of 1957. So popular were the girls that they became a merchandising factory with coloring books, lunch boxes and doll collections all doing very brisk business.
The most famous line-up of this very successful US close-harmony pop trio comprised Tony Butala (20 November 1940, Sharon, Pennsylvania, USA), Bob Engemann (b. 19 February 1936, Highland Park, Michigan, USA), and Jim Pike (b. 6 November 1938, St. Louis, Missouri, USA). Pike, a letterman at Utah's Brigham Young University, released an unsuccessful single on Warner Brothers Records in 1959. In 1960, he and fellow student and ex-Mormon missionary Engemann formed a trio with Los Angeles-based supper-club singer Butala, who had recorded previously on Topic and Lute and had been using the Lettermen name since 1958.
Hailed "one of the best pop-jazz vocal groups in the world" by the San Francisco Chronicle, m-pact is respected worldwide as a cutting edge trailblazer in the realm of vocal music. Emerging from an age of auto-tune and overproduction, this Los Angeles-based ensemble has cultivated a new generation of ears hungry for the fresh, raw power of nature's "first instrument" - the human voice. Their sophisticated sound & accessible appeal have garnered vast accolades, from Vocal Group of the Year (the LA Music Awards), an Indie nomination (the Independent Grammy), & Artist of the Year (Seattle Music Awards), to Grand National Champs of the Harmony Sweepstakes competition.
The Manhattan Transfer are the New York easy listening band, formed in 1972 by Alan Paul, Janis Siegel, Laurel Masse and Tim Hauser.
They had their initial success in the US with their self-titled debut album, and the single "Operator". Their next few releases had a greater impact on the charts in the UK, where single "Chanson D'Amour" from Coming Out went to No.1.
The 1979 Extensions album began a golden period for the group in the US. The album features a cover of jazz group Weather Reports' "Birdland". It won Manhattan Transfer the Grammy for Best Jazz Fusion Performance and is now considered the bands' signature tune. Subsequent releases would garner the band a long list of plaudits, with Mecca for Moderns providing Grammy Awards for "Boy From New York City", "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" and "Until I Met You".
In 1983 the group had success in the R&B charts with the "Spice of Life", a top five performer from the Bodies and Souls album, which also featured fan favourite "Mystery". They hit a peak with Vocalese, the album generated 12 Grammy nominations which, at the time, was second only to Michael Jackson's Thriller album. Brasil earned the band a Grammy for Best Pop Performance, but this was to mark the end of the run, as subsequent releases have not done as well. The band still tour and have a loyal following.
They are now back together as an act. Just as their music touched the lives of many across America and all around the world in the past, so it has now. Their sweet, nostalgic sound has longtime fans waiting in line to see them, as they are joined by new young fans. Their music has bridged the generation gap and The McGuire Sisters are a hit once again. They have recently been inducted into the Coca-Cola Hall of Fame as well as the Headliners Hall of Fame. The sisters balance active social lives with engagements around the world, from Las Vegas to Chicago's Drury Lane Theatre.
Mel Torme was a child actor and musical prodigy. He began singing at the age of three, studied piano and drums, and at 15 published his first song which was recorded by Harry James. In 1942 he joined the band of comedian Chico Marx as drummer, singer, and vocal arranger, and in 1943 he formed his own group, the Mel-Tones, and appeared in his first film, Higher and Higher, with Frank Sinatra. The Mel-Tones, a precursor of contemporary vocal jazz, were popular during WWII and enjoyed several hits on their own as well as with Artie Shaw's band.
The group continued to perform worldwide. They recorded commercials with Gilda Maiken (Anderson) of The Skylarks singing melody. The group stayed with Decca until 1949, when they moved over to Capitol and later to Era. In 1954 Vern Rowe took over for Dick Baldwin. The foursome of Judd and Ted McMichael, Marjorie Garland McMichael, and Vern Rowe continued the group's activities until 1964 when the act retired. Their last American performance was a 1968 reunion at the Hollywood Bowl. One of Ted's daughters, Geri Benson, became a second-generation lead singer of the Marry Macs, keeping the group's tradition alive. Ted is the only surviving member of the group and lives in Hemet, California, with his wife Carolyn.
Michael Sammes was born in Reigate, Surrey, and studied cello, singing, and arranging. He went to work for a music publisher and formed the Mike Sammes Singers during the mid-'50s. A vocal ensemble of varying size whose members were often divided up into smaller ensembles for session work, the Mike Sammes Singers were busy from the start, making regular appearances on the BBC, singing on the bill of variety shows at the London Palladium, doing guest appearances on television programs, and singing on recording sessions backing up various singers. The group intersected with skiffle and rock & roll surprisingly early, singing backup to the Vipers Skiffle Group. Members of the Mike Sammes Singers were also present for the first recording session by Cliff Richard & The Shadows on July 24, 1958, where they backed the band up singing "Schoolboy Crush," the original A-side of their first single (which was quickly flipped over in favor of the harder rocking Ian Samwell original "Move It").
The brothers were highly successful and well liked. They were recognized nationally, then internationally. In 1934, The Mills Brothers became the first African-Americans to give a command performance before British royalty. They performed at the Regal Theatre for a special audience; King George V, Queen Mary, and the very special woman sitting in a box seat, their mother. Soon after this, while performing in England, John Jr. became ill. He was months recovering from pneumonia. Before he was completely well, the Brothers returned to England. John Jr. once again became sick, then died in the beginning of 1936.
After signing the three-year contract with William S. Paley, they became a national sensation. Their first record recorded for Brunswick, a remake of their "Tiger Rag" became a nation wide seller, the only record at that time to sell more than a million copies. Other hits quickly followed -- "Goodbye blues", their theme song, "You're Nobody's Sweetheart Now," "Ole Rockin' Chair," "Lazy River", "How'm I doin'," and others.
When one thinks or speaks of "The Modernaires", immediately you relate to their classic 1941-1942 association with "American's Number One Dance Band," Glenn Miller and his Orchestra. Yet, superb as each and every one of their Miller performances were, "The Modernaires", had already existed, performed and recorded for several years prior and would continue to do so for more than half a century after their sensational 19-month stint with that legendary leader.
Talent springs from all over, and in the early 1930's, Buffalo, New York was the wellspring for a trio of young men who liked to sing. Harold Dickinson (lead and second tenor), Bill Conway (baritone) and Chuck Goldstein (first tenor) were three Lafayette High School students from the wintry city of Buffalo. In 1935 as Glenn Miller Rehersal a trio, they called the group the "The Three Weary Willies", performing at high school functions and then on WGR local radio.
They unite their creative ideas and talents; presenting their original compositions and resetting them for five voices. You are likely to hear standards, poetry, original music and spontaneous improvisation under one umbrella - MOSS.
Peter Eldridge and Lauren Kinhan are members of the Grammy award winning New York Voices and also have their own solo projects of original music; Theo Bleckmann is one of the vocal magicians with Meredith Monk and his own genre-bending work; Kate McGarry has been gracing New Yorkers with her soulful timbre for many years; Luciana Souza is seen all over the world in all her incarnations, Brazilian, Jazz, and Poetry inspired.
New York Voices is the Grammy Award winning vocal ensemble renowned for their excellence in jazz and the art of group singing. Like the great groups that have come before, such as Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Singers Unlimited, Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, they have learned from the best and taken the art form to new levels. Their interests are rooted in jazz, but often Brazilian, R & B, classical, and pop influences are included with equal creativity and authenticity. The group was formed in 1987 by Darmon Meader, Peter Eldridge, Kim Nazarian, Caprice Fox and Sara Krieger. By way of explanation, Darmon, Peter, Kim and Caprice attended Ithaca College in NY and were part of an invitational alumni group formed to tour the European Jazz Festivals in the summer of '86. As a result of this exciting experience, the idea of forming a professional group was born.
OneVoice is the flagship ensemble of the vocal jazz program at Millikin University. Begun in 1986 by the group's musical director and keyboardist, Stephen Widenhofer, OneVoice is one of two vocal jazz groups at Millikin University. OneVoice has been specially recognized by DOWN BEAT magazine several times and has been invited to perform at various educational conferences and collegiate jazz festivals in the United States. Last year the ensemble was one of two vocal jazz ensembles featured at the national convention of the American Choral Director's Association in Oklahoma City. OneVoice regularly tours regionally and has toured the Dominican Republic on three different occasions.
Formed in 1982 by students of the esteemed director Phil Mattson, members of the P.M. Singers became identified with the Phil Mattson School and many have gone on to great professional and academic success in their own right. (Two examples are Joe Finetti, who now sings with The Bobs, and Michele Weir, a respected educator and arranger.) This mixed group has the talent and range to master the most technical of charts, as well as the warmth and emotion to stir the heart-witness"A Child Is Born," with a facile piano accompaniment by Phil Mattson himself, who plays keyboards throughout. Many of the arrangements allow one voice to solo, adding and subtracting harmonies for interest and variety. "I'll Be Seeing You" is a cappella and allows the melody to shine, gradually opening up the song with a frugal harmony that never interferes, but builds to a subtle crescendo and then resolves to an elegant closing cadence, the lead voice holding the final note while the lower parts complete the subject. A pleasure to listen to and a model of arranging virtuosity.
Over the years, jazz has seen its share of talented vocal groups --New York Voices, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Andy Bey & the Bey Sisters, and Beachfront Property are among the names that immediately come to mind. All of those groups had two-gender formats, and rarely do you find a jazz-oriented vocal outfit with an all-female lineup; Pastiche is such a rarity. Consisting of singers Jenny Meltzer, Sandy Cressman, and Becky West, the female trio brings a jazz foundation to this self-titled debut album. But having a jazz foundation doesn't necessarily mean being a jazz purist or a jazz snob, and Pastiche is an appropriate name for the Bay Area threesome because Meltzer, Cressman, and West obviously have a variety of influences -- not only jazz vocal outfits like Lambert, Hendricks & Ross and New York Voices, but also everything from soul and pop to Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and Caribbean music. Stevie Wonder has influenced some of the writing, and so has the Manhattan Transfer.
Powerful, entertaining and bursting with energy, this contemporary a cappella octet blends familiar sounds to create its own expression of American vocal music. The ensemble's voices -- pairs of sopranos, altos, tenors and basses -- combine in rich harmony to create a seamless blend of sound. Saluting the boundless and unpredictable American spirit, Pieces of 8 combines classical music influences with the sounds of jazz, pop, rock, Reggae, doo-wop, gospel and soul to create a multilayered, nearly orchestral texture. Pieces of 8 was founded by Charles Mead, the ensembles artistic director, with support from the Professional Studies Program at the St. Louis Symphony Community Music School (formerly the St. Louis Conservatory and School for the Arts).
Originally consisting of eight members, The Pied Pipers had their greatest success after nearly half of the members left the group. The remaining Pipers (Billy Wilson, Chuck Lowry, Jo Stafford, and her then-husband John Huddleston) joined the Tommy Dorsey Band in 1939, backing Sinatra on many classic recordings. In 1942 The Pied Pipers broke away from Dorsey, and Huddleston joined the army, to be replaced by Hal Hopper, one of the original eight members. The group backed Johnny Mercer on several tracks during the early 40s, including "Candy" and "Blues in the Night." Their first single ("Deacon Jones"/"Pistol Packin' Mama") was released in 1943. Stafford had become quite busy with her solo career and left the group in 1944, to be replaced by June Hutton. Throughout the rest of the decade The Pied Pipers charted frequently, yet their popularity waned in the '50s.
PUST means breath in Norwegian. It also means to take a break, to get away, to breathe. You can hold it too, but that's not a very good idea when you're singing.
PUST is six skilled singers based in Oslo. The group's key qualities are versatility, creativity and "voiceplay" in addition to improvisation combined with a high level of musicianship. The singers are highly scholared and music-educated, with long experience from various vocal ensembles.
PUST finds inspiration somewhere between folksong, jazz and ethnic vocal music. Tradition and innovation are a part of the groups musical expression. All compositions and arrangements are written for or by the group.
Ray Charles is the stage name of Charles Raymond Offenberg (born September 13, 1918, in Chicago, Illinois), an American musician, songwriter, and vocal conductor. He is best known for a series of easy listening record albums which he produced in the 1950s and 1960s as the Ray Charles Singers. This vocal group also sang backup on most of the recordings of Perry Como from 1950 to 1987, and Charles and his singers also appeared with Como in his live performances and on television. The Ray Charles Singers (with Charles featured prominently as lead male vocalist) sang the theme song to the television series Three's Company ("Come and Knock on Our Door"). He is sometimes known humorously as "The Other Ray Charles" to distinguish him from the great soul musician of the same name.
Ray Conniff was born on November 6, 1916, in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Ray was exposed to music at an early age, his father was the leader/trombonist of the local Jewelry City Band and his mother played the piano. As a junior in Attleboro High School, Ray and some of his buddies decided to start a dance orchestra. Taking some musical tips from his father, Ray started practicing trombone and wound up playing first trombone for the band. It was for this group that Ray did his first arrangement, his fellow musicians loved his interpretation of "Sweet Georgia Brown."
Ray survived in the music business for over 65 years, he recorded over 100 albums and sold over 70 million albums, cassettes and CD's. He was the proud recipient of a Grammy Award for his recording of "Somewhere My Love", two Grammy nominations, over 10 gold albums, 2 platinum albums ("Somewhere My Love" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"), CBS Records-Best Selling Artist for 1962 Award and countless international awards. On 12th October 2002 Ray Conniff passed away in San Diego.
This Los Angeles-based vocal jazz group has been singing together since 2003, and has developed a loyal and enthusiastic following for its unique A Cappella style and lively personality. The group's sound has been described as "compelling," "mesmerizing," and "a cocktail for the ears!" The foursome, who describe themselves as "self-confessed chord freaks", share a passion for "dangerously close harmonies" and "songs that can melt the heart!" A powerful combination indeed!
The Group Members: Caroline McLean, the group's lead singer, hails from Leeds, England.Kate Walker, alto, originates from beautiful Christchurch, New Zealand.Peter Neushul, tenor, is a native Los Angelino (claiming to be a descendent of Attila the Hun!). Jim Campbell, bass, has been singing professionally since 1991 when he moved to Los Angeles from Louisville, KY.
The Real Group is a professional a cappella ensemble from Sweden, in constant development since the formation 24 years ago. TRG is one of the leading forces in the world of vocal music today.
Through the years, the members have been engaged in a variety of activities - concert performances, events, CD/DVD-recordings, song-writing, arranging, score publishing, CD-production for other artists, master-classes/workshops, seminars, etcetera.
The Real Group has been groundbreaking in the vocal group genre. Early in the group's 25-year history an own style was developed, with compositions and arrangements by the group members. TRG has procuced a large number of records, dvd's, concert tours, TV programs, and has been (and are) artistic directors of two vocal group festivals: The Real A Cappella Festival in Sweden (2008), and Amazing Voice in South Korea (2007, 2008). Recently a CD was released, with compositions by legendary Swedish song writer Povel Ramel.
Formed in 2000 Riltons Vanner has performed in a variety of different settings - ranging from singing for Nobel Prize winners at a dinner for 60 persons to performing at an outdoor stage in Germany in front of 6000 people. Thanks to their singing they had the opportunity to visit many beautiful places in Sweden, but have also been to more "remote" places as Tammerfors (Finland), Steinkjer (Norway), Bamberg (Germany) and New York (USA). They all live in Stockholm and have of course given a number of concerts in the most beautiful capital city of the world! The story of Riltons Vanner began in the winter 1999-2000, when five friends at Stockholm's Music Gymnasium formed an A Cappella-group. Their first record, "Kompis" ("Buddy"), came in 2002, and the group started to tour more and more frequently. In 2005 their latest album "Har ar passion" ("Here is passion") was released, which got an award for "best folk/world album of the year" by the international A Cappella society CASA. Through the years, Riltons Vanner has become one of Sweden's few proffessional vocal groups. They have done around 500 different performances in Sweden, Norway, Germany, USA, Finland & Russia, and they have also cooperated with several well-known Swedish artists.
The vocal jazz program at Sacramento State is under the direction of Kerry Marsh. The program consists of the Jazz Singers, C-Sus and Vox 2, all of which are formed by audition. The sounds of Sac State Vocal Jazz are influenced by the great vocal jazz groups of the past and present: The Hi-Lo's, Singers Unlimited, Take 6, New York Voices, The Real Group, Manhattan Transfer and others. However, the program strives to explore.
Although much of the study focuses on group sound, improvisation and solo singing are also important aspects of the program, with a thriving bachelor's program in jazz studies/voice. Jazz voice majors (currently eleven in the program) study privately with the outstanding jazz vocal artist Julia Dollison.
The Singers Unlimited were born out of a strange combination of stark commercialism and rare innovation that somehow yielded some pretty high art. Gene Puerling was the vocal arranger as well as a singer with The Hi-Lo's, and later moved into jingle singing and arranging in Chicago. Don Shelton had been a Hi-Lo as well, and joined Puerling in the commercial field. Along the way they joined with Len Dresslar (the voice of the Jolly Green Giant) and vocalist/voiceover artist Bonnie Herman. This led to the formation in 1967 of a ready-to-go jingle-singing quartet. Then Puerling began experimenting with the new technology of multi-track recording, and the Singers expanded their four voices into eight, twelve, sixteen, and later into practically a hundred or more! The Singers produced around 15 LP's in the period between 1971 and 1981.
January 2005 brought on a season of change for us, as Amy Fogerson left the group and was replaced by Jennifer Barnes. Shortly thereafter, both Gerald White and Gary Rosen also made the decision to leave the group to pursue other ventures, which created openings filled by tenor Greg Whipple and baritone Greg Jasperse. This 50% new group is now eagerly working towards the goal of being a powerful and cohesive musical unit, adding exciting new repertoire while maintaining the spirit and integrity for which Sixth Wave has always been known. Please keep checking back for new and exciting news and updates as things progress.....
Stripped is a vocal band that continues to stretch ideas about what a cappella music can be. Their concerts are highly focused on improvisation, audience participation, and making music that moves the spirit. The voices gathered here have blend and unity, but frequently remind the listener that individual expression can flourish within the context of a group sound, like a single flower enhances the garden with its own particular bouquet and color.
Stripped has performed throughout Chicago, singing original vocal jazz music at the Green Mill, HotHouse, Fitzgerald's, Lyon's Den, Uncommon Ground, Beat Kitchen, and 4th Presbyterian Church. Stripped received awards at the Chicago Cultural Center Cx2 competition and the 2004 Harmony Sweepstakes Regional competition. Stripped opened for jazz and R&B legend Patti Austin in summer 2004. Keep your eyes open for performances coming your way, then open your ears and prepare to be Stripped!
There are few music lovers who haven't heard the name the Swingle Singers. Since the release of that ground-breaking debut album in 1963, this virtuosic eight-voice a cappella group (complete with their own vocal rhythm section) has performed on the world's most famous stages, sustaining over four decades a level of international popularity beyond the dreams of its founder, American-born Ward Swingle. The current London-based line-up of young and talented singers is, of course, several incarnations of "Swingles" older than the original team (Ward Swingle affectionately refers to them as his "grandchildren"). They represent a modern incarnation of an ensemble whose music has evolved and expanded to encompass styles far and beyond the swung Baroque and infamous "ba va da" of the 1960s, although audiences will usually hear a tribute to the original French group. Along with the repertoire, the stage show has also grown into a full-blown lights-and-choreography spectacle. The beauty is that however the group has changed, the sound remains unmistakeably that of the Swingle Singers, the same sound which caught the world's attention all those years ago.
The Boston Globe calls Syncopation "the 21st Century Manhattan Transfer or Lambert, Hendricks and Ross" and it is easy to see why. Like those legendary vocal groups, Syncopation performs jazz and pop music in four-part harmony with a style that is both timeless and up-to-the-minute. As an added treat each of the singers also plays an instrument or two like trumpet, trombone piano and percussion providing the excitement of a band much larger in size.
You may have seen Syncopation on WBZ-TV singing with the Boston Pops on their 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular (2009). The group often performs with instrumental accompaniment of piano, bass and drums, but they are equally renowned for their a cappella singing, which has earned them regional and national awards from Harmony Sweepstakes.
The Puppini Sisters have earned quite the celebrity following - from Sharon and Kelly Osbourne to Vivienne Westwood, Kate Moss and Stella McCartney to members of The Royal Family, including Prince Charles, Camilla The Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince William.
This UK-based vocal trio brings three-part harmony into the modern age with a repertoire that includes everything from 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" to 'I Will Survive." Inspired by the Oscar-nominated film The Triplets of Belleville (a French animated movie which features a '40s-style harmony group), The Puppini Sisters - Marcella Puppini, Kate Mullins, and Stephanie O'Brien - formed in London. Dressed in 1940's-style wardrobe, the three sing like The Andrews Sisters with inspiring harmonies, and perform classics such as 'Mr. Sandman," 'In The Mood," and 'Jeepers Creepers." But what makes The Puppini Sisters truly stand out are their show-stopping interpretations of more current tunes: Blondie's 'Heart of Glass," Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights," and The Smith's 'Panic," among others.
A multi-talented quartet of vocalists and musicians, THREE HITS AND A MISS is a nationally recognized vocal group having performed in top venues throughout the United States and abroad. Collectively they sing, write, arrange and play a variety of instruments, showcasing their critically acclaimed "Amazingly Tight Harmonies."
Their current concert show, AMERICAN POP features billboard hits from the mid 1950's through the mid-80's with a musical heartbeat inspired by such stellar groups as The Beatles, The Fifth Dimension, The Temptations, Simon and Garfunkle, The Beach Boys, The Association, The Mamas and the Papas, Fleetwood Mac, The Carpenters, Three Dog Night, Van Morrison, Queen, Abba, Blondie, The Bee Gees and more.
The history goes way back. When small Correa, even if small, were a scene of a box and a stick a microphone in the back yard family in the neighborhood of Gavea in Rio, imitating their three older brothers, whose group " Golden Boys "beat the records of the public hearing of the" Jovem Guarda "version of Brazil yeyes. To so and so, the singer, Eva and Regina eventually blow an idea to Roberto, the eldest of the family: why do not they would form a group too. There was still a little brother available, Mario.
Thus was born the Trio Esperanca, in the 60s. Body and brush remaining available to the baby of the tribe, Mariza .... waiting for better days, she could barely speak but sang like a lark. The Trio's first album. "Menino do Amendoim" goes unnoticed, the second "Filme Triste" true compilation of Portuguese international hits of the time (Like a Bridge Over Trouble Water has, Down Town, Gorgy Girl ...) is a triumph. Trio Esperanca followed suit with "Golden Boys". Suddenly, Dad Correa decides it is time to take care of her smala and exchange office to the bank to that of manager.
The award-winning jazz ensembles at the University of Northern Colorado offer students performance opportunities in big bands, combos, vocal jazz groups, and Latin jazz. With over 30 years of history, UNC's jazz ensembles have earned numerous accolades, including: More than 90 Downbeat Student Music Awards, GRAMMY nomination for the album Hot IV by Vocal Jazz Iand Numerous performances at national and international conferences including IAJE, Midwest Band, and others. More than 150 students participate in jazz ensembles. Although the groups are comprised primarily of music majors, they are open to all students by audition. Placement auditions are held at the beginning of the fall semester.
Velvet Voices, founded in 2002 women's a cappella group, impresses with his vocal virtuosity, feminine charm and artistic creativity.
Her name is Velvet Voices. But one must not too long sense of security, for among the vocal "soft paws" to the singers lurks a second texture of the extraordinary! Founded in 2002, Austria's women's a cappella group has for many years been among the main highlights of the local a cappella scene.
They won two gold rankings at the international "Ward Swingle Award", opened in 2003 Voice Mania (Vienna Festival of Voices), completed countless concerts in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Hungary and Belgium and, in 2005 with Louis Martini in the Viennese popular theater production "Pantyhose, Swing & Chesterfield 'to see and hear.
Coming from different vocal and musical experiences, the original components of the vocal band "Vocalica" (Alberto, Andrea and Fabio) decided in 1994 to begin a new artistic way after several years of activity in one of the best-known Italian choirs, "Coro Tre Pini" of Padua, directed by Gianni Malatesta, who brought them on the stages of the most important Italian theatres and in prestigious tours abroad. Taking inspiration from the most important vocal groups (Swingle Singers, Take 6, King's Singers, Manhattan Transfer, Real Group, etc.) the band has developed a repertory of "cover" songs for voices only based on pieces of pop music, rock, blues and jazz, both Italian and foreign. This wide range of musical sorts is the reflection of the personality and of the musical roots of the different members of the group, who, with great versatility, pass from scat to swing and be bop, without forgetting rock, pop and Italian music, even composed by themselves. Nevertheless they always try to maintain their originality both in the arrangement and in the interpretation.
Vocalogy is a vocal jazz quintet which brings an exciting and distinctive sound to the world of vocal music. Vocalogy has delighted audiences internationally in festivals, concerts, clinics and clubs since the groups formation in 1998.
Christine Guter (Helferich) is the group's dynamic lead singer; tenors David Thorne Scott and John Knutson, baritone Gerhard Guter, and bass Chris Morey provide rock-solid harmonies and take outstanding solo features. The group utilizes its range of five-and-a-half octaves to execute intricate and vocally demanding material in a way that seems effortless. They thrill audiences with their improvised solos, tight ensemble work, and dazzling harmonies.
Vocalogy arose from an artist-in-residency program under Grammy-Award nominee Phil Mattson. Now self-directed, Vocalogy performs a collection of their own innovative arrangements.
Vocation was formed in 2000 at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. It is not only an a cappella group, but also a group accompanied by either a quartet or a big band. Reviews, given in Swedish newspapers during a tour in Sweden, closely linked Vocation to The Real Group, Take 6, Gals and Pals, as well as to Manhattan Transfer and the New York Voices. Although the group has performed for Swedish radio as well as Swedish television, Vocations main arenas vary from private parties and jazz clubs, to churches and various concert halls. Vocation was given the Choice of the Audience Award at the International Vocal Group Festival in Tilburg, Holland in 2002.
Vocation is today a well-known act in Swedish Jazz, and even though it is a tough business and their career has but started the future of Vocation looks bright, mainly because the singers see the work of the group not only as their occupation but also as their Vocation.
Voice Trek has been thrilling listeners with their impeccable vocal skills since 1987. Their astonishing adaptability and inventive arrangements have defined this vocal quintet as one of the topmost in their genre. Based in Minnesota, the all-original members of Voice Trek are Shelley, Vicki, and Rae Plaster - three sisters who are known for their dazzling vocal mix; the group's tenor, Denis Allaire, specialist in vocal percussion and vocal instrumental sounds; and bringing up the bass is the dynamic Kevin Smith - the irreplaceable bottom line.
A multitalented and prolific group with numerous CD's in their catalog, Voice Trek has appeared in performance venues around the globe. Voice Trek's newly released CD "An A cappella Trek" is already receiving enthusiastic reviews from fans and critics alike.
The line-up has changed slightly over the years, along with the repertoire, but the quality of our singing and the musical values we espouse remain constant as we go from strength to strength. In 2005 our quality was all too much for Simon Cowell on The X-Factor, but in 2007 our album Making Notes was nominated for a CARA award in the USA as A Cappella Jazz Album of the Year and in 2009 we were one of only five finalists in the Good Housekeeping Choir of the Year Competition.
Vox One is an award-winning a cappella jazz quintet that combines elements of blues, funk, gospel, and folk into their own brand of vocal music, which is "most adventurous and distinctive." - San Francisco Examiner. The group, formed in 1988, has since developed a unique style considered to be the cutting edge of a cappella. "This jazz quintet puts all kinds of throat sounds to such funky good use that listeners break into applause and - better - feel like dancing." - Boston Magazine.
Vox One has performed internationally, and has opened for Ray Charles, Chicago, the Persuasions, the Bobs, the Woody Herman Orchestra, and the Count Basie Orchestra. The group earns wide acclaim for their performances and CDs. Their awards include "Best A cappella Group, Jazz" - Boston Magazine. Vox One's eponymous debut CD was named "Best Album" and awarded "Best Song" by the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA): "Creative arrangements and soulful spark... fabulous lead vocalists, and exquisite blend, a great vocal percussion sound, and lots of class." Their second US release "Out There," won "Album of the Year," "Best Jazz Song," and "Best R&B song" by CASA. "...as defining an album for vocal jazz as Singers Unlimited "A Capella" and Take 6's debut album...it's that good." - Primarily A Cappella. With their 1998 album "Chameleon," Vox One was named "Artist of the Year," and once again it earned "Best Jazz Album" and "Best Jazz Song."
West Side 5, an award-winning vocal jazz ensemble based in New York City, is known for its refined sound and sophisticated approach to jazz. Inspired by greats like Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, and The Real Group, WS5 has crafted its own unique sound, characterized by highly original arrangements, complex harmonies, and outstanding musicianship.
The group formed in the summer of 2009, bringing together five old college friends on the west side of Manhattan. They immediately garnered acclaim, winning the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes while being voted Audience Favorite and winning Best Arrangement for "Pure Imagination". They went on to be featured artists at the SingStrong A Cappella Festival, and have performed alongside groups including Blue Jupiter, Streetcorner Symphony, and The Bobs, as well as for Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion in New York.
Yumiko Matsuoka was born in Tokyo, Japan, and grew up there as well as in London, UK. She started studying piano at an early age, and was quickly drawn to the magic of chords. Yumiko's passion for great harmony was developed further in the high school choir, band for musical "Godspell," encounter with the music of the Singers Unlimited as well as many other composers/arrangers in a wide range of genres. Yumiko came to the US in 1986 to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. She founded a cappella ensemble Vox One in 1988 to realize her dream of writing for and singing in such a group. Vox One released five albums, won numerous awards, and established themselves as one of the pioneers in the world of a cappella music. Her arrangements are available through the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Press. Yumiko's arrangements are unique - she takes a song and reveals a layer of emotions that may not have been apparent in the original. Fans and performers of her music span the globe from Australia, Europe to the Americas and Japan. Yumiko is a professor in ear training at her alma mater Berklee, and keeps herself busy with workshops/coaching including the Western Wind's summer sessions at Smith College in Northampton, MA.