In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
The only thing better than sitting in a small, intimate club, listening to a smooth vocal jazz group deliver powerful music is taking that group's music away with you, sticking it into the CD player, and enjoying it in the privacy of your own home. With sounds so warm you can wrap yourselves in them like a comfy afghan, whether you're a fan of male groups, female groups or those who have the best of both worlds Ë† male and female voices - you'll find at least one group whose music you want to take home and cuddle up to here.
Displaying 101-150 of 291 items.
Manhattan Transfer : Vibrate
Review: We don't think we need to go deeply into the history and awards associated with jazz legends Manhattan Transfer, who have been paying their dues and building their following in hip New York City clubs since 1971. Finely-crafted jazz albums, beginning with the self-titled "Manhattan Transfer," have sold well and won many awards. "Extensions" won two Grammys , "Mecca for Moderns" one, and "Vocalese" three Grammys. "Vibrate" is the group's first studio album in 3 years, and has been highly anticipated. 11 songs, all accompanied, mostly mellow, bass-walking, rainy-day jazz. Some particular favorites are the opening cut, the salsa-influenced "Walkin' in N.Y.," the oriental flavored "Greek Song," the blue-note, meandering "The New JuJu Man," "Doodlin'," the rhythmic "Feel Flows," the sweet chestnut "Embraceable You," and finishes with a very nice "Come Softly to Me/I Met Him on a Sunday" medley. The long-awaited Vibrate" is a special addition to MT's discography and is further evidence that we're listening to one of the best vocal jazz groups in the world!
Songlist: Walkin' In New York, Greek Song, Vibrate, The New JuJu Man, Doodin', The Twelfth, First Ascent, Core Of Sound, Feel Flows, Embracable You, Come Softly to Me / I Met Him On a Sunday
Manhattan Transfer : Vocalese
Review: Considered by some to be the apex of the Transfer's vocal development, "Vocalese" refers to the setting of lyrics to previously recorded instrumental compositions. With the contributions of Jon Hendricks (of the highly-regarded Lambert, Hendricks & Ross) and saxophonist Richie Cole, this CD was nominated for twelve Grammy's and won two-Best Jazz Vocal Performance and Best Arrangement for Voices. "Killer Joe" builds off of an undulating synthesizer bass riff, which is the foundation for some flashy vocal soloing, copping what were originally horn parts-vocalese! "Airegin" (Nigeria backwards) sets a pace fast and furious, "To You" is its complete opposite-slow, romantic, with a throaty tenor solo passage and back-ups by the Four Freshmen! "Another Night In Tunisia" allows guest Bobby McFerrin to display his trademark percussion and then sculpt a slurred vocal line, adding a dramatic vibrato for emphasis. Top form.
Songlist: That's Killer Joe, Rambo, Airegin, To You, Meet Benny Bailey, Another Night In Tunisia, Ray's Rockhouse, Blee Blop Blues, Oh Yes, I Remember Clifford, Sing Joy Spring, Move
Manhattan Transfer with Cincinnati Pops : Got Swing?
Review: Dubbed "The Prince of Pops" by the Chicago Tribune, Erich Kunzel's Cincinnati Pops Orchestra has been nominated for 5 Grammies under his direction, winning one in 1998, and we have to say that this is some of the best, most spirited big-band swing we've ever heard. Of special interest to us, of course, are the vocals, which are supplied by one of our favorite jazz groups, The Manhattan Transfer, former (and founding) member of the MT, 9-time Grammy winner Janis Siegel, and inventive singer/guitarist John Pizzarelli. There are 14 all accompanied (in fact, 7 of them are completely instrumental) tunes here, and not surprisingly our favorites are "Choo Choo Ch' Boogie," "Sugar" (That Sugar Baby of Mine), "Skyliner," and "Clouds" (adapted from "Nuages,") featuring the MT; "Straighten Up and Fly Right" and "Avalon" with John Pizzarelli; and "I'll Be Seeing You," with Janis Siegel. As we would place the Swing Era at or near the top of all musical eras, we thought "Got Swing" was a treat, and every tune gave us the urge to get up and dance!
Songlist: String of Pearls , Stompin' at the Savoy , Choo Choo Ch' Boogie, Straighten Up and Fly Right, Sugar, Skyliner, Blues in the Night , Avalon, It Don't Mean a Thing , Clouds, adapted from "Nuages", Jumpin' at the Woodside , Flying Home , I'll Be Seeing You, Sweet Georgia Brown
ManSound : If It's Magic
Review: ManSound, an a cappella sextet from Kiev, Ukraine, got its start in 1994 as an idea of composer and arranger Vladimir Mikhnovetsky. The group consists of experienced professionals and it is a permanent participant of international jazz festivals and concerts. First building a Russian fan base with concerts and appearances at jazz festivals in Moscow and other cities, ManSound began touring in 1996, when the group traveled to the United States for six weeks, performing with great success in universities and evangelical churches. In February of 2000, ManSound performed at one of the biggest jazz events in the USA, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, following the invitation of Lionel Hampton himself. They also performed in 2002 and 2003, delighting crowds of 5000 at the nightly performances. Dr. Lynn Skinner, director of The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, called ManSound the hit of the jazz event. "Magic" has only 7 songs, but 3 are marvelous medleys, two of them of George Benson's songs and one of Stevie Wonder tunes. Besides these favorites, "They Can't Take That Away From Me," "Nature Boy," "Lullaby of Birdland and "Angel Eyes" are standouts-which includes everything on the CD. Tremendous voice control, incredible arrangements, butter-smooth blue-note harmonies, surprising tempo changes and scat breaks-it adds up to a stunning first CD by a huge, fast-rising talent in the jazz/a cappella world!
Songlist: Smile Medley:, - Smile, Darn Ya, Smile, - Powder Your Face With Sunshine, Have A Little Talk With Myself, If I Had My Way, Moondance, Shenandoah, When My Sugar Walk Down the Street, Where Is Love, Shadrack, Fare Thee Well, Love, Honey Medley:, - My Honey's Lovin Arms, - Honey That I Love So Well, You Tell Me Your Dream, Sing, Sing, Sing, Hushabye
ManSound : Slavic Roots
Review: Formed five years ago in Kiev, the six men who make up the Ukrainian group Man Sound have recorded three compact discs and toured extensively in Europe. In their early years, the group gave dozens of gospel concerts in six western U.S. states. Most recently they were invited to the U of Idaho Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival by Hampton himself. The group's repertoire includes famous jazz compositions and Ukraine folk songs as well as traditional and modern gospel music. "Slavic Roots" are Ukrainian folk songs, all a cappella except for some light guitar on "Under the Cloud." Included are two medleys, "Triptych" and "Diptych," "Polechko-Pole," "Under the Cloud," "Hey, Let's Hoot," "There You, Wide Steppe" and "White Swallow." The group's powerful, fine-tuned ensemble sound derives from their individual talents as soloists. Adding scat jazz riffs to a "Volga Boatmen" base is the kind of fresh vocal surprise Man Sound is becoming well known for. Excellent and recommended!
Songlist: Triptych, Polechko-Pole, Under the Cloud, Hey, Let's Hoot, There You, Wide Steppe, Qiptych, White Swallow
Mill City Mix : Swingeroo Quickies
Review: "Mill City Mix" is a four-piece mixed group whose inspiration is the close harmony groups of the forties - the sounds of the Merry Macs, Pied Pipers and their ilk. This accompanied CD features sixteen agreeable songs, such as "Perfidia," "Sunny Side Of The Street" and "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree." "Eloise" has a descending progression that is classic American songwriting, "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy" crackles with energy, and a high-octane piano break; in contrast, "Irresistable You" captures all the longing of love.
Songlist: Perifidia, Irresistible You, Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy, Daddy, Dream, Shoo Shoo Baby, Sunny Side Of The Street, Watch What Happens, Sentimental Journey, Sweet Eloise, Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree, A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening, Whispering, Elmer's Tune, Jukebox Saturday Night, Misty
Moss : Moss
Review: Individually, they are five phenomenal and distinctive vocalists: Peter Eldridge, a eclectic vocalist, composer, and member of the New York Voices; Lauren Kinhan, known for her charismatic voice, genre bending originals, and her dedicated years as a member of the New York Voices; Theo Bleckmann, the effusive German-American Meistersinger known for his brilliant collaborations with Meredith Monk; Kate McGarry, a vocal polymath at home with the folk tradition and the Big Apple bandstand; Luciana Souza, the Brazilian whose repertoire ranges from bossa novas and Elizabeth Bishop to Steely Dan. Together, they are MOSS, A vocal supergroup that intertwines jazz, classical, pop, folk, electronica, world music, and poetry into an arresting and unique sonic species of art. A typical vocal jazz record follows a formula: some up-tempo tunes, plenty of moody ballads and a vocalist reaching for the unique without leaving the familiar. The vocal dream team Moss has thrown out the old formula on their new self-titled CD. Not to be pigeon holed, these master vocalists supply their own unique originals along with a bevy of thoughtful arrangements of not so standard tunes (including pieces by Tom Waits, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and e.e. cummings). Throughout this exceptional recording, the vocal quintet's contrapuntal harmonies, silken phrasing, and soulful improvisations, traverse and morph genres with ease and invention. "Hopefully, each song reveals the curiosity and uniqueness of each voice," Luciana Souza writes in the CD liner notes, "and the wonderful and intangible thing that happens when a group of friends blend their voices and sensibilities into one."
Songlist: Shadows and Light 1, Object Devotion, i carry your heart with me (i carry it in, There Alone Go I, Orchard, Old Man, Home, Lavaliere, Take It With Me, These Things Take Time, Longing, Busy, Being Blue, Shadows and Light 2
Mt. San Antonio College - Singopation : Drive
Review: Mt. Sac's dynamic ensemble Singcopation, founded in 1997 by Director of Choral Activities Bruce Rogers, consists of 12 auditioned male and female student vocal jazz specialists. These exceptional singers have taken home a variety of trophies from vocal jazz competitions, been named "Most Outstanding College Vocal Jazz Group in the Country" by Downbeat. On the 14 generally accompanied (Piano, Drums & Bass) tunes of "Drive," Singcopation shows us a level of sophistication and polish rarely found at the college level. Particularly fine are Steve Allen's "This Could be the Start of Something Big," the scatty, salsa-flavored "Virou Areia," the sexy, silly, nearly a cappella "I Feel So Smoochie," a very cool arrangement of "Nature Boy," Bobby McFerrin's sweet a cappella (of course) title tune, a moody cover of Lennon/McCartney's "In My Life," John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice," a smooth, rhythmic cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Corcovado," and very nice vocal percussion on the a cappella "Virtual Insanity." We are big fans of Singcopation, and enjoyed every cut of "Drive!"
Songlist: This Could Be The Start Of Something Big, Minuano, Not Like This, Virou Areia, Don't Be On The Outside, I Feel So Smoochie, Nature Boy, Drive, In My Life, Moments' Notice, Corcovado, Snow Samba, Virtual Insanity, I Want You Back
Mt. San Antonio College - Singopation : Everything Must Change
Review: Mt. Sac's Singcopation, founded in 1997, consists of twelve auditioned singers who specialize in vocal jazz music. They have been invited to perform at many jazz conventions including the International Assn. of Jazz Educators, LA Vocal Jazz Workshop, and they have won the 2001, -2, -4, -5 & -6 Downbeat Magazine award for being the #1 college vocal jazz choir in the country. They are directed by Mt. Sac's award-winning Director of Choral Activities, Bruce Rogers, who is also co-founder of the LA Vocal Jazz Workshop. There are 11 songs, some accompanied by a rhythm section of drums, piano and bass. Our first favorite would have to be Monk/Hendricks' scatty "In Walked Bud" with wonderful vocal percussion and bass; Peggy Lee's "I Don't Know Enough About You," the moody title tune by Bernard Ighner, Cole Porter's "Get Out of Town," a sweet harmonied, a cappella cover of Hoagy Carmichael's "I Get Along Without You Very Well," a bluenote arrangement of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" and an a cappella cover of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing," also with great vocal percussion. Hot, entertaining stuff from one of our best collegiate jazz ensembles!
Songlist: But Not For Me , In Walked Bud, Dandaya, I Don't Know Enough About You, Everything Must Change, The Song Is You, Get Out Of Town , I Can't Give You Anything But Love , I Get Along Without You Very Well , In Your Eyes, Don't Worry 'Bout A Thing
Mt. San Antonio College - Singopation : Stompin' At The Savoy
Review: The 13 auditioned Mt. San Antonio students who form Singcopation, which was formed in 1997 by their director Bruce Rogers, specialize in vocal jazz music. They have carried off numerous trophies from vocal jazz competitions, and are regularly described as "#1 college vocal jazz choir in the country by Downbeat Magazine. On most songs the group is accompanied by a jazz band with Piano, Bass, Drums and Latin Percussion, but have a pair of very fine a cappella covers, "I Remember You" and the 5th Dimension's "Grazin' In The Grass," both of which have some sweet vocal percussion and solo work. Other favorites are the title tune, a wonderfully rhythmic "So Danco Samba," a manic, scatty "Down for Double," a kick-butt "Up Jumped the Boogie," a very smooth, driving "Bittersweet," a swinging, sexy "Wild Women Don't Worry" and a sassy, jazzy cover of Sting's "If You Love Somebody." "Specialize in vocal jazz music" aside, these young men and women can sing their butts off, and "Stompin'" is Big Fun, as lively, juicy and enjoyable as any jazz recording we've heard in a long time. You're gonna love this one!
Songlist: Stompin' At The Savoy, Alone Together, So Dance Samba, I Remember You, Down For Double, Lover Man, Up Jumped The Boogie, Bittersweet, That's All, Grazin' In The Grass, Wild Women Don't Worry, If You Love Somebody
New Wizard Oil Combination : Goin' Back
Review: This loosely-knit congregation of singers have been singing for Colorado audiences for 26 years. Known colloquially as the Wizards, they, in turn, founded the Colorado Vocal Jazz Society. The 14 songs on this CD, nearly all arranged by Ed Wolff, former Wizard and Whiffenpoof, are of premium entertainment value, sort of like a sing-along at your favorite drinking establishment - only with much better pitch! Whether the '50's hit "I'm Going To Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter," the Muppets "Bein' Green," or the hilarious "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival" ("he thought he had a weedeater loose in his Fruit-Of-The-Looms"), the Wizards have got chuckles up their sleeves and a tune in their hearts. "Indian Prayer" shows a moment of solemn reverie, and an "Ellington Blues Medley" finishes off the proceedings with style. A great gift idea, with something for everyone.
Songlist: Ease On Down The Road, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down An' Write Myself A Letter, If I Love Again, Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud, Drive My Car, Bein' Green, Oh, The Americas, I'm Goin' Back To Where I Come From, Golden Lady, The Mississippi Squirrel Revival, Roller Derby Queen, Indian Prayer, Can He Love You Half As Much As I, Ellington Blues Medley
New York Voices : A Day Like This
Review: We have long placed the Grammy-winning two-woman, two man NY Voices in the same company as groups like Singers Unlimited, Manhattan Transfer, The Real Group and Vox One, that is, among the best vocal jazz groups in the world. Receiving "A Day Like This" is cause for celebration, as it has been way too long since the quartet last stepped into a recording studio. This all-accompanied collection of 14 upbeat, jazzy tunes starts out fast with Jimmy Van Heusen' "Darn that Dream," group member Peter Eldridge's "The World Keeps You Waiting" and a smoky, bluenote cover of Alan Jay Lerner's "On A Clear Day." Then we're treated to some sweet covers of Lewis & Coots' "For All We Know," Duke Ellington's "Love You Madly," Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing," John Coltrane's beautiful "Noticing the Moment (Moments Notice") and the wonderful, scattish, manic "Jackie" with lyrics by Annie Ross. One last favorite is a delightfully fresh and simple arrangement of Laura Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic." Every cut here, in fact, is a joy - the Voices have a sophisticated, effortlessly clean sound that surprises and entertains. It was worth the long wait for A Day Like This!"
Songlist: Darn That Dream, The World Keeps You Waiting, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning, On A Clear Day, For All We Know, Love You Medley, As We Live and Breathe, No Moon At All, Chamego (Betty's Bossa), Noticing the Moment, Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing, Stoned Soul Picnic, A Day Like This, Jackie
New York Voices : Live with the WDR Big Band Cologne
Review: The Grammy Award-winning vocal group New York Voices celebrates its 25th anniversary presenting their first full live album with New York Voices Live offering a collection of past favorites and brand new arrangements. A live recording from a concert at the Kolner Philharmonie in Cologne, Germany with the world famous WDR Big Band Cologne, this long-awaited release opens the group's 2013 celebratory year with a bang. New to their repertoire are a jazz rendition of the Annie Lennox pop tune "Cold," Darmon Meader's cappella vocal arrangement of the classic Lerner & Lowe standard "Almost Like Being In Love," and a swinging take of the Broadway staple "Love Me or Leave Me."
Songlist: Baby Driver, Stolen Moments, Love Me or Leave Me, Cold, The World Keeps You Waiting, I Do It For Your Love, Darn That Dream, Almost Like Being in Love, The Sultan Fainted
New York Voices : Sing, Sing, Sing
Review: The best things in life are worth waiting for! After several delays the much anticipated new release from one of the top jazz vocal groups in the world is finally available and we couldn't be happier. Equally masterful at tight harmonies and individual solo flights vocalists Peter Eldridge, Lauren Kinhan, Darmon Meader (who also blows a mean tenor sax) and Kim Nazarian have delivered their most swinging outing to date. All but one of the songs were arranged by the incredibly talented Meader whose fresh spin on these Swing Era classics are a joy to listen to. The vocals are also very strong, especially Kinhan and Kim, who must be some of the jazziest, sexiest female singers around. Accompanied mostly by a swinging big band the final song "I'll Be Seeing You", however, is a pure a cappella gem.
Songlist: Sing, Sing, Sing, I Can't Believe You're Not in Love With Me, Smack Dab in the Middle, Early Autumn, Bli Blip, Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens, Save Your Love For Me, Orange Colored Sky, Hallelujah, I Love Her So, Cloudburst, Stardust, Don't Be that Way, In a Mellow Tone, I'll Be Seeing You
Not To Scale : Not To Scale
Review: A seven member mixed contemporary jazz group, "Not To Scale" performs accessible versions of songs such as "Chuck E's In Love," "I Feel Good" and "Some Kind Of Wonderful." The other ingredients in their sonic recipe distill a significant Real Group influence, heard on "Lullaby" and the Real Group's own "Waltz For Debby." The group was formed in North Carolina in 1997, and describe themselves as a fusion group, combining the energy of rock with the intervals of jazz.
Songlist: Traffic Jam, I Got You ( I Feel Good), Chuck E's In Love, Some Minor Changes, The Water Is Wide, Spiderman, Mama Told Me Not To Come, Don't Know Nothin', Some Kind Of Wonderful, Cryin' Shame, Waltz For Debbie, Elwood Decker, There Will Never Be Another You, Lullabye
OneVoice : Esperanto
Review: OneVoice is Decatur, IL's Milliken University's Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and "Esperanto" is their debut recording, containing the work of 22 student vocalists and a five-man jazz rhythm section, from the years 2005 to 2009. Special thanks are given to Milliken alumnus Kyle Lehning '71, who graciously recorded the rhythm section for "Chicago" and "Peace," and mixed both recordings at his studio in Nashville. There are 9 accompanied songs here, some favorites in addition to Fred Fisher's "Chicago" and Horace Silver's "Peace" are: Vince Mendoza's "Esperanto," the rhythmic "Bailando" by Greg Jasperse, a smoky, bluenote take on Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," the lovely, a cappella (with a sweet faux flugelhorn) "A Child Is Born" by Thad Jones and Alec Wilder, Bill Cantos' simmering "Morning Coffee" and Israel Houghton's joyous "Who is Like the Lord." An impressive and enjoyable debut recording for OneVoice!
Songlist: Chicago, Esperanto , There Is No Greater Love, Peace, Bailando, In Your Eyes, A Child Is Born, Morning Coffee, Who Is Like The Lord
P.M. Singers : Jubilee
Review: Intricate arrangements and big and bold orchestrations, featuring saxophonist Richie Cole, characterize this six piece mixed group's sound, a pleasing mix of old and new jazz influences. The sound is suggestive of the Singers Unlimited in terms of complexity, though on "Waltz For Debby" and the tour-de-force (written by Clare Fischer) "The Quiet Side," the richness of the voicings invites comparisons to the Real Group. Speaking of "The Quiet Side," it is a seven minute exploration of form and tonality that begins a cappella, segues into a mid-tempo accompanied section that escalates in intensity using scat as it's medium, through an ascending sequence that descends again to the original introduction. "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars" takes a vocal percussion idea which then evolves into a sultry duet with shimmering backups, "C'est Si Bon" is a throaty and suggestive interplay between voice and flugelhorn, with the horn part equal in importance to the arrangement. "Johnny One Note" is the Gene Puerling arrangement. A highly enjoyable and accomplished collection.
Songlist: Johnny One Note, C'Est Si Bon, Jubilee, Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars', Stella By Starlight, Waltz For Debbie, My Melancholy Baby, The Quiet Side
P.M. Singers : Night In The City
Review: 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 BeSeeing 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.
Songlist: New York Afternoon, Desafinado, Body And Soul, I Hear Music, Night In The City, How Long Has This Been Goin' On, A Child Is Born, Jeanine, I'll Be Seeing You
Pacific Mozart Ensemble : A Cappella Jazz & Pop
Review: The P.M.E. is one of the San Francisco Bay Areas most versatile and innovative choruses. The repertoire stretches from Mozart to Monk (Meredith). Each year members arrange and perform immensely popular jazz and pop concerts. On this recording which has arrangements of 20 songs, various members form quintets and sextets to allow individual singers greater individual expression. It begins with "Doodlin'" and ends with "Canary In A Coal Mine." In between find yodeling, scats, a lullaby, Eric Clapton and more. You'll listen to this one over and over.
Songlist: Doodlin', Wonderful Tonight, Things We Said Today, Boy From New York City, 42nd Street, Cattle Call, Pretending To Care, Don't Let Your Heart Slip, Blues My Naughty Sweetie, 'Round Midnight, A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Sincerely, Mama, I Wanna Make Rhythm, Lullaby, It's All Right, You Know It's Wrong, The Love You Save, What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life, Four, Canary In A Coal Mine
Pacific Mozart Ensemble : A Cappella Jazz & Pop Vol. 2 Live!
Review: This CD is a compilation from Pacific Mozart ensemble's live performances up until 2000. This is a great way to hear what they sound like live. It's fun and energetic, and the singing is excellent! It includes lots of great arrangements from members of the group as well as arrangements from A Cappella luminaries Phil Mattson, Anders Edenroth, Gene Puerling and many more.
Songlist: Orange Colored Sky, Yesterday, Chili Con Carne, Waltz For Debby, I Can See For Miles, Sweet lorraine, Satin Summer Nights, Quality, I Can Cook, Too, That Lonesome Road, Im In a Hurry, Bei Mir Bist Du Schon, I'd Give My All, Cottontail, Calling My Children Home, Full Moon, Full of Love, The Tracks of My Tears, Duke of Dubuque, Brahms' Lullaby, When God Dips His Pen, And So It Goes, Love Shack
Pacific Mozart Ensemble : Jazz and Pop A Capella, Vol. 3 Live!
Review: This fun CD includes live performances of the Pacific Mozart Ensemble from years 2000-2004. Eric Freeman and Jim Hale (members of PME and one of our favorite vocal jazz quintets, Clockwork!) have both contributed quite a few arrangements, which makes this an extra special recording. This CD has everything from classic pop and rock, to jazz ballads and big band standards. You are sure to enjoy every one of these amazing tracks! Best when purchased along with Jazz and Pop A Cappella, Vol. 4, Live, as they both cover the same seasons of this fantastic ensemble!
Songlist: Hazy Shade of Winter, Taxman, El Hambo, Four Lads Medley: Moments to Remember, No Not Much, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Alma Mater (from Grease), Samba de Minha Namoradhino, Swingin Till the Girls come Home, You Raise Me Up, Goody, Goody, Travelin' Prayer, When the Night, Conjunction Junction, Jubilee, Philosopher's Song, BeeGees Medley, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, When the Hangover Strikes, I'm Cute, Five Brothers, Handful of Keys, Up Above My Head
Pacific Mozart Ensemble : Jazz and Pop A Capella, Vol. 4
Review: More great tracks from PME's 2000-2004 concert seasons. This CD is yet another testament to how many great musicians we have here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Best when purchased along with Jazz and Pop A Cappella, Vol. 3, Live, as they both cover the same seasons of this fantastic ensemble!
Songlist: Also Sprach Zarathustra, I Can See Your Aura, You Still Believe in Me, One More Time Chuck Corea, Creep, Sinisia, Billie Jean, I Wanna Be Around, Chain of Fools, Polkadots and Moonbeams, Cuchi Cuchi, Good Bait, Hair, Teardrops, Beyond the Sea, Lush Life, Within You Without You, Old Joe's Place , Let Me Touch You for a While, Walk Between the Raindrops, Musik! Musik! Musik!
Pastiche : Pastiche
Review: Pastiche is Sandy Cressman, Jenny Meltzer and Becky West, attractive, versatile singers with their roots in jazz, but who incorporate Brazilian and Afro-Cuban rhythms as well as pop and R&B influences in their music. Fair warning: Pastiche, which means "a combination of many styles and influences making up a single work of art," is accompanied throughout by a very fine jazz orchestra. That said, the trio's vocal harmonies are brilliant, and each song, from song 1, "Don't Lose Your Cool" to song 11, "When The Night," are showcases for that brilliance. A smooth, smoky, moody work of art!
Songlist: Don't Lose Your Cool, Whatever It Takes, When Will There Be, You Hit The Spot, Only Love, Late Date, Remember That, Waiting On The Day, Destination Drive, Blackbird, When The Nght
Phil Mattson & Vocalogy : Is God A Three Letter Word For Love
Review: 1999 is the 100 year anniversary of the birth of the jazz master Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington - a genuine American hero. Though his accomplishments were many, Ellington characterized his sacred compositions, coming towards the end of his career, as "the most important thing I have ever done." Leave it to Phil Mattson and his Vocalogy ensemble (consisting of six faculty members at the Southwestern Community College School For Music Vocations), to record the first vocal group arrangements of these compositions (some are accompanied by a rhythm section as well). Ellington wrote these songs for a San Francisco concert at Grace Cathedral in 1965, and went on to perform this program internationally until his death in 1974. We have not heard the CD itself come presstime, but we understand that songs such as "In The Beginning God," "Come Sunday" and "Father Forgive," while spiritual and earthy, are written in the tried-and-true Ellington big-band style. An appropriate tribute indeed from Mr. Mattson.
Songlist: In The Beginning God, Is God A Three-Letter Word For Love?/ My Love, T.G.T.T., Ain't Nobody Nowhere Nothin' Without God, Father Forgive, Almighty God, The Shepherd, Something 'Bout Believing, Come Sunday, Heaven
Phil Mattson and VoicesIowa : Count Your Blessings
Review: Formed at Southwestern Community College's School for Music Vocations in 1991, the mixed-voice sextet VoicesIowa was recently honored by Down Beat Magazine as "Vocal Jazz Group of the Year." Their repertoire also includes Renaissance part-songs, 19th and 20th century compositions and arrangements of contemporary music. Their Director Phil Mattson has been nominated twice for Grammy Awards. These 12 songs, recorded live at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, MN, feature Mattson-arranged winners like "Snow Covers the Valley," Bach's "Jesu, Meine Freude," Burt Bacharach's "Alfie," "Never Let Me Go," Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen's classic "Blues in the Night" and Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep." Ward Swingle's "Country Dances" and the Swingle-arranged "Satchmo," Duke Ellington's "Don't Mean A Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing," Anders Edenroth of the Real Group's "Friendship" and Bobby McFerrin's "Jubilee" are other favorites. Great stuff, from the first cut to the last!
Songlist: Since All Is Passing, Don't Mean a Thing (If it Ain't Got That Swing), Snow Covers the Valley, Jesu, Meine Freude, Alfie, Jubilee, Never Let Me Go, Satchmo, Friendship, Blues in the Night, Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep), Country Dances
Pieces of 8 : Across The Blue Meridian
Review: Charlie Mead, director and composer/arranger, is at it again, dazzling us with his swinging musical stylings with the help of his eight talented singers. This time, the beautiful sounding octet takes on a vacation to various island getaways with four original compositions by Charlie, all giving you the feeling of being in the great outdoors. As they take us on this journey, they also satisfy our thirst for a few old classics with some unique arrangements of "On The Street Where You Live," "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square," and "I'm Beginning To See The Light." To end this fabulous CD, the top- notch performers sing Bach's "Goldberg Variations," a simplistic musical masterpiece who's instrumental orchestrations were most recently made famous by the Hannibal Lectar movies.
Songlist: It Don't Mean a Thing, Blue Meridian, Nice 'N Easy, Summer Dreamin', Some Other Time, On the Street Where You Live, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Walk Between Raindrops, Orange Colored Sky, Hook, Line and Sinker, Music of the Spheres (Gershwin Piano Prelude No. 1), Aria, Bach Goldberg Variations
Pieces of 8 : Falling Together
Review: On "Falling Together" the four men and four women of jazz octet Pieces of 8 have picked some of our favorite music, turned arranger Charles Mead loose on it, and come up with a very special CD. It's all great stuff: "Bye Bye Blackbird," Lennon & McCartney's "Blackbird" and "When I'm 64," Rodgers & Hart's "You Took Advantage of Me," "You Don't Know What Love Is," Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire," Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You," "Kansas City/Route 66," Andrew Lloyd Webber's "I Don't Know How To Love Him," "The Price of Wisdom" and Leonard Bernstein's "Somewhere." Mead's unconventional arrangements require singers with incredible range and versatility, and Pieces of 8 handles them with ease. There's not a weak track on the CD--"Falling Together" is a saucy, jazzy, gem!
Songlist: Bye Bye Blackbird, Blackbird, You Took Advantage of Me, You Don't Know What Love Is, Bird on a Wire, When I'm 64, I Concentrate on You, Kansas City/Route 66, I Don't Know How to Love Him, The Price of Wisdom, Somewhere
Pieces of 8 : Hook, Line & Sinker
Review: The new recording from this highly accomplished octet features six originals, as well as classics such as the Beatles' We Can Work it Out" and "I Got Rhythm" by George and Ira Gershwin; however, expect the unexpected! The Beatles classic is delivered as a percussive rave-up, "I Got Rhythm" is seamlessly blended with "Accentuate the Positive", creating a melange altogether new. Fans of sophisticated vocal jazz such as Manhattan Transfer will feel right at home with this group and their approach, and appreciate their technical derring-do. Other songs included are "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" and the haunting original, "Berceuse", which suggests the modal inflection of church hymns and chants.
Songlist: The Saga of Jenny, Baby It's Cold Outside/Heatwave, Hook, Line & Sinker, We Can Work It Out, Blue Meridian, Gold Chain, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Walk Between Raindrops, With a Little Help From My Friends, I Got Rhythm/Accentuate the Positive, One Race, Berceuse
Pust : Femkant
Review: "Femkant," Norwegian mixed-voice septet (four women, three men) Pust's debut album, was released in September, 2007, and it immediately attracted a lot of positive attention. The Norwegian press hailed it as a "vocal sensation," and called it "vocal charm and voiceplay from another world." The album was nominated for a 2007 Norwegian Grammy Award, and it was also nominated for a CARA Award for best 2007 a cappella jazz album. These 14 a cappella songs include some excellent covers, a delicate "Time After Time," a whimsical "I Won't Grow Up" from Disney's "Peter Pan," a soaring "Innocent," a playful, jazzy "Dat Dere," a poignant, bluesy "Moon Over Bourbon Street" and a powerful, bluenote "Take a Look in the Mirror." All other songs are in Norwegian, such as the heartbreaking "Vaggviselat," haunting "Turlutte 33," playful "Femkantgeneralen" and teasing, scattish "Helene Harefroken." All arrangements are written by or for the group. A very impressive debut, "Femkant" is a breath of fresh jazzy air from Norway!
Songlist: Turlutte 33, Femkantgeneralen, Helene Harefroken, Time After Time, I Won't Grow Up, Sagostunden, Jeg tenker sa titt pa min bryllupsdag, Bruremarsj fra Sorfold, Innocent, Dat Dere, Moon Over Bourbon Street, Slipsteinsvaeilsen, Take a Look in the Mirror, Vaggviselat
Pust : Kry
Review: "Pust" means breath in Norwegian. It also means to take a break, to breathe. Pust is Oslo-based, comprised of three men and three women singers with lots of vocal experience in various ensembles, who find their musical inspiration somewhere between Folk, Jazz and Ethnic vocal music. The 12 songs on "kry" include songs composed by members of the group, and all the lyrics are in Norwegian. Some favorites are "Lukk meg inn," the delicate "Innunder blae himmelrand," the spirited folk song "En reell halling," the gentle "Gate," the dramatic "Kolera-vise," the melodic "Farao pa ferie," the sweet "Trassvisa hennes Tora" and others. Beautiful sounds from Norway's best!
Songlist: En reell halling, Gate, Kolera-vise, Det bor en gamel baker, Lukk meg inn, Farao pa ferie, Innunder blae himmelrand, Trassvisa hennes Tora, Hade'godt, Fram dansar ein haugkall, Usynlig, Eg kan ro
Quintessence : The Joy of Six
Review: What a find! After well over a decade of selling a cappella recordings those joyous days of discovering unknown a cappella artists are fewer but we have just come across another great a cappella talent in Ottawa-based sextet Quintessence. Influenced by groups such as The Manhattan Transfer, Les Swingle Singers and Singers Unlimited the group brings it's own jazzy style to a a wide variety of repertoire, from big-band through to hits of recent years and some original material. The group arranged most all of the songs themselves bringing freshness to these great standards that are a real pleasure to hear. The voices blend very well and there are a couple of very strong solos especially those of Marion Xhignesse and Susan Mayo. A recommended release for vocal jazz aficionados.
Songlist: Acoustic Souvenirs, Goody Goody, Girl From Impanema, Les Duettistes, The Man I Love, I Got A Gal In Kalamazoo, Summertime, Planesong Blues, Les Feuilles Mortes, Lullaby Of Birdland, Route 66, When I Fall In Love, I Can Recall Spain, Kelly Danielle's Lullaby
Rajaton : Boundless
Review: Rajaton (which actually means "Boundless" in Finnish) is a world-class Finnish vocal jazz septet, and this is their second CD (their first, "Nova," is also excellent). They sing jazz renditions of their own and others' original compositions, Finnish folk songs and poetry put to music. The two Finnish folk songs, "Armahan kulku" and "Kaipaava" are sung in Finnish, the rest are in flawless English. Following the tradition of brilliant Scandinavian vocal jazz groups, Rajaton's sound is bright and clean, harmonically complex, spirited and perfect. The colorful liner notes contain all the words, and lovely photos of the group. Eleven songs: "Butterfly," "Un-Wishing Well," "The Lark In the Clear Air," "We Walk In a Fog," Lennon/McCartney's "Lady Madonna," "Dobbin's Flowery Vale," "Summer Song," "Poison Tree," "You Can't Stop Me," and the two folk songs. A breath of fresh, jazzy air from Finland!
Songlist: Butterfly, Un-Wishing Well, The Lark In The Clear Air, We Walk In A Fog, Lady Madonna, Dobbin's Flowery Vale, Summer Song, Poison Tree, You Can't Stop Me, Armahan Kulku, Kaipaava
Rajaton : Maa
Review: Finnish a cappella ensemble Rajaton, returns to their Finnish folk roots, releasing their 8th CD on the occasion of their 10th anniversary. The Finnish word "Maa," which can be translated as earth, country, dirt, land-complements the return to their roots theme. Here are 12 lovely songs, all in Finnish and all composed and arranged by group members. "Nouse lauluni," which translates "Rise up, my song" (the beautiful full-color liner notes thankfully contain English translations of all the lyrics), "Oin ja paivin," (By night and by day), "Tasangot," (The plains) and "Villihanhen laulu," (Song of the wild goose) are immediate favorites; subtle and mysterious, soft at first and building to crescendos, sweet and heartbreaking. Knowing the translated lyrics is interesting but not really necessary-the feeling of these tunes, the melancholy, longing and depth of these poems touches and moves us. The music for the final track, "Valse triste" was written by the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius who died 50 years ago, the recording also honors Finland's 90 years as an independent nation. Sibelius' piece is performed wonderfully, in fact we felt the need to listen to each of these 12 vocal gems again to fully appreciate "Maa."
Songlist: Nouse lauluni, Oin ja paivin, Tasangot, Villihanhen laulu, Tuuti lasta, Talvilaulu, Hiljaisuus, Ikovoi, ihminen, Hiljaa, Pakkanen, Kevat saapui, Valse Triste
Rajaton : Nova
Review: We don't quite know why, perhaps it's the good beer, but those Scandinavian countries sure know how to produce wonderful a cappella vocal jazz groups. Rajaton (Finnish for boundless) are a highly talented septet whose members are experienced choral singers with diverse musical backgrounds, most of whom studied singing either at the Sibelius-Academy or at the Pop/Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki. 1999 winners of the Grand Prix at the Tampere Choir Festival they sing jazz versions of Finnish folk songs, poetry and original compositions and are of a world class caliber. We like this recording very much and the arrangements and quality of singing are exceptional. English lyrics included in the liner notes.
Songlist: Laksin Mina Kesayona Kaymaan, Mita Kaikatat, Kivonen?, Purrelle Tuulta, Kutsu, Yolla Euroopasa, Me Kuljemme Kaikki Kuin Sumussa, Haahymni, Tahtitarha, Oi Aika Ihanin, Kulkue, Piene Tarina, Pyhat On Pihlajat Pihalla, Armmottoman Osa, Lintu Lauleli Lehossa, Nova
Rajaton : Sanat
Review: 'Rajaton' in Finnish means 'boundless,' a good description of the talent of this vocal jazz septet! 'Sanat' is the third excellent CD to reach us, and most of the songs are again in Finnish, with four in perfect English, 'Were You There,' 'Nearer My God To Thee,' 'Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel' and 'Weary In Well-Doing.' The group got together as music students at the renowned Sibelius Academy or at Helsinki's Pop/Jazz Conservatory, and almost immediately began performing live and winning major awards. Their repertoire on previous CDs consisted of their own and others' original compositions, jazz versions of Finnish folk tunes, and poetry put to music. 'Sanat' focuses on another dimension of the group, their deep Christian spirituality. Their sound remains fresh and spirited, harmonically complex; with incredibly perfect bell-like tones. The extensive liner notes present the words in Swedish and English. 'Sanat' is a beautiful CD, the best yet from yet another amazing Scandinavian vocal group!
Songlist: Aurikolaulu, Were You There?, Benedic Anima Mea Dominoi, Stabat Mater, Vain Taivasta Kukkaset Katsovat, Kaikki Maat, Te Riemuitkaate, Iltavirsi, Torramat Do Noebaengil, Nearer, My God, to Thee, Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?, Weary in Well-Doing, Pia Desideria
Rajaton : Sings Queen
Review: Rajaton, our favorite Finnish mixed-voice sextet, has been blowing us away for 9 recordings now, proving with each release exactly how amazing they have become as vocalists. "Rajaton Sings Queen" follows their critically acclaimed "Rajaton Sings Abba," also with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jaakko Kuusisto. There are just a couple of a cappella tunes here, "Under Pressure," composed by Queen and David Bowie, and "Don't Stop Me Now." We of course prefer Rajaton's a cappella recordings, but let's make ourselves clear-we have been lovers of Queen since they first began performing in London in the early 1970s. The vocal brilliance of lead singer Freddie Mercury and guitarist Brian May, and their ability to pen deathless anthems like "We Are The Champions" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" have lifted them into the rarefied atmosphere of Rock superstars. And we have heard countless tribute albums and dozens of cover versions of Queen hits. All of them lacked the same thing that Queen has lacked since the untimely passing of Freddie Mercury, that is, Freddie himself, a performer who could fill stadiums. So now, finally, we hear a tribute album by Rajaton, whose vocal talents are right up there with Mercury's, and we have something! Just listen to the magnificent "I Want It All," "Killer Queen," "A Kind of Magic," "You Take My Breath Away," "Who Wants To Live Forever," the thrilling "Bicycle Race" and "The Show Must Go On." Rajaton's compatibility with the wonderful Lahti Symphony Orchestra was forged with the 2006 Abba album, and here both groups are hitting on all cylinders. Hearing "Bohemian Rhapsody" gave us a tingle up the back of our necks very similar to the one we first got listening to Queen's 1975 magnum opus "A Night At The Opera" through a friend's pricey stereo headphones. Rajaton's excellent English, which allows us to understand all the lyrics perfectly, is an unexpected treat. "Rajaton Sings Queen" is a powerful, magical recording by one of our top contenders for best a cappella group of all time!
Songlist: Bohemian Rhapsody, I Want It All, Killer Queen, A Kind Of Magic, Somebody To Love, You Take My Breath Away, Under Pressure, Innuendo, We Are The Champions, Who Wants To Live Forever, Don't Stop Me Now, Bicycle Race, Love Of My Life, The Show Must Go On
Ray Conniff Singers : It's The Talk of The Town / Young At Heart
Review: A great twofer featuring two original LPs on this one CD. With such classics as "Buttons & Bow", "Let's Put Out The Lights" and "They Say It's Wonderful" this will be a great addition to your collection.
Songlist: It's The Talk Of The Town, You're An Old Smoothie, Buttons & Bows, Let's Put Out The Lights, It's Been A Long, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Deep In The Heart Of Texa, Love Is The Sweetest Thin, They Say It's Wonderful, Hands Across The Table, My Heart Cries For You, Rosalie, Remember, You'll Never Know, Dancing With Tears In My, I'm In The Mood For Love, I'll Be Seeing You, It's Dark On Observatory, These Foolish Things (Rem, He's Making Eyes At Me, Young At Heart, If I Loved You, Harbour Lights, I'll See You In My Dreams
Ready, Willing and Mabel : A Cocktail For The Ears
Review: Los Angeles-based mixed vocal jazz quartet RW&M first came to our attention when they performed a very strong 10-minute set at the 2005 SF Bay Area Harmony Sweeps Regionals. Singing together since 2003, these 4 "chord freaks" have a passion for dangerously close harmonies and "songs that can melt the heart," 12 of which are included on this CD. Some favorites are "This Can't Be Love/Almost Like Being in Love" medley, " the smoky, Latin "Corcovado," the moody "Where Is Love," "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year," Lennon/McCartney's "I Will," "Through the Years" and "Puttin' On The Ritz." Some songs with Bass, Percussion and other accompaniment. Beautifully designed liner notes. A "Cocktail for the Ears" from this talented Retro quartet
Songlist: This Can't Be Love / Almost Like Being In Love, Corcovado, They All Laughed, Where Is Love, Here's That Rainy Day, Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year, What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life, I Will, For All We Know, Through The Years, Wanting Memories, Puttin' On The Ritz
Ready, Willing and Mabel : Busy Line
Review: "Busy Line" is the second excellent album by talented, mixed voice (2 men, 2 women) Vocal Jazz group R,W&M, who first came on to our radar with their wonderful set at the 2005 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional. The LA-based retro quartet, who have been singing together since 2003, feature lead Caroline Mclean, alto Kate Walker, tenor Peter Neushul and bass Jim Campbell has taken the place of fellow "chord freak" Robert Clark. 15 nostalgic favorites, beginning with a "Fascinating Rhythm/Steppin' Out with My Baby" medley, the Gershwins' haunting "Shadow of Your Smile" from "The Sandpiper," Freddie Mercury's big fun Roaring 20s reprise "Seaside Rendezvous," Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," and another nice medley, "Let's Go to Brazil/The Gift," which has some non-vocal percussion and bass, and Cahn, Chaplin & Lunceford's "Rhythm is Our Business" is big band-accompanied. Irving Berlin's upbeat "Blue Skies," Bloom & Gallup's bluesy "Maybe You'll Be There" and Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time" round out the program. Murray Semos and Frank Stanton's title tune has some non-vocal bass and percussion, and Mandel and Bergman's "Where Do You Start" has some bluenote Saxophone. An entertaining, authentic (even down to the vintage clothing worn by the group in the liner notes pix), sweet-harmonied trip to another era from Ready, Willing & Mabel!
Songlist: Fascinating Rhythm/Steppin' Out With My Baby, The Shadow Of Your Smile, April In Paris, Seaside rendezvous, My Funny Valentine, Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye, Let's Go To Brazil/The Gift!, The Lark In The Clear air, Blue Skies, The Night We Called It A Day, Rhythm Is Our Business, Maybe You'll Be There, Where Do You Start?, Busy Line, Some Other Time
Real Group : Best Of - (Allt Det Basta)
Review: Well what can be say about a Best Of CD from quite possibly the best a cappella group in the world? How about Wow! Amazing! Incredible! We could go on but suffice to say this is a must have a cappella CD for any fan of unaccompanied vocal harmony. With twenty tracks this is long, sublime listening experience that fully covers the breath and depth of this fabulous Swedish quintet. There are four new tracks including an Anders Edenroth arrangement of "Man e Man" and a touch of Spain in the closing audience favorite "Granada". Plus, to add to the joy, there are two brand new arrangements of the now classic "Chile con Carne" and the divine, entrancing "Li'l Darlin'" The Real Group is the best selling artist in the Primarily A Cappella catalog and we very quickly expect this to to become our best selling CD ever. We hate to be pushy, (honest) but you really, really should Buy This CD!
Songlist: Chili Con carne, Substitute For Life, Dancing Queen, Li'l Darlin', Flight of the Foo Birds, Commonly Unique, Kristallen den fine, Alla Talar Med Varandra, A Cappella i Acapulco, Att Angora en Brygga, Varfor far man inte bara vara som man ar?, Cage Of Promises, En Sommer, Man e Man, Vem kan Segla.., Ett Liv for Mig, Lift Me Up, Telephone Talking, Underbart ar Kort, Granada
Real Group : Commonly Unique
Review: Sweden's Real Group began sixteen years ago, singing in Swedish. Subsequent recordings produced what some consider definitive versions of classic American jazz standards, as well as what became staples of the Real Group repertoire, such as "Chili Con Carne" and "Acappella in Acapulco." Their previous release, "One For All," saw the group focusing on original material, written in English. "Commonly Unique" continues the focus on self-written compositions, and though the unmistakable clarity and tone that instantly identifies their sound is there, this is just as much an adult contemporary record as it is jazz. The use of effects processing to enrich the sound, especially on the vocal percussion and bass, adds a modern edge and feel. "Substitute for Life," a commentary on the ill effects of television, melds a relentlessly cheery chorus with the dire incantation of the verse, all driven by an energetic trip-hop beat. "Thousand Things" will be a new Real Group classic, returning to warmly familiar jazz territory with an inspired melody and brisk tempo. The nuanced musing of "Stay" features a vocal trumpet, subtly marking the tonal landscape. Pretty ballads such as "Song Of Love," "Long Way To Go" and "Love And Let Go" are glossy pastiches, sweetly delectable and easy to digest. "Commonly Unique" is aptly titled, and will bring together both old and new fans of the most gifted a cappella vocal jazz group performing today.
Songlist: Substitute For Life, Telephone Talking, Commonly Unique, Thousand Things, Run, Run, Run, Love and Let Go, Stay, Lift Me Up, Big Bad World, Song Of Love, Cage Of Promise, Long Way To Go, Eyes Of A Child
Real Group : Debut
Review: This album is the first by The Real Group (recorded in 1987) as you might suspect from the title. It was recorded with two microphones straight to a two-track tape deck with no mix down. Amazing! They are already so good you won't realize that fact by the most critical listening. What dynamic balance! The original release was a vinyl edition of 2500. In 1995 that early recording was rereleased on cd and given the appropriate title, Debut. Of the thirteen tunes, three are sung in Swedish, while the rest are the types of familiar covers that we've come to expect, "All Of Me," "Misty," "Li'l Darlin'," "Night And Day," "As Time Goes By," "My Romance" and "Who Put The Bomp," among others. It's a must for anyone who is following the career of this extraordinary group.
Songlist: All of Me, Misty, Joy Spring, Coffee Calls For A Cigarette, Medgon Knsliga Fr Grnt, Blues For Alice, Li'l Darlin, Night And Day, As Time Goes By, Båtlåt, My Romance, Vårsång, Who Put The Bomp
Real Group : Get Real
Review: A Korean import, this CD is similar to the Real Group's earlier release, 'Unreal,' with a few very exciting differences. If you've ever looked at their sheet music collection published by 'Walton,' you may have stumbled upon a song called 'How Come Its So Hard To Be The Way You Are?' If you've listened to a decent amount of their Swedish repertoire, you would have learned that the song is actually the English version of 'Varfor Far Man Inte Bara Vara Som Man Ar?' But where can you find the English version of this song? Look no further, its on 'Get Real.' A few other new highlights to this CD are a studio version of 'Strawberry Fields Forever,' their award-winning cover of 'Dancing Queen,' and you'll get to hear English lyrics added to 'For The One I Love.' All three of these additional tracks show off the group's virtuoso ability to create a vocal accompaniment that you will swear sounds more like other instruments rather than the human voice! While you may have heard many of the tracks on this CD before, this is a must have for all Real Group fans worldwide!
Songlist: A Cappella in Acapulco, A Child is Born, Dancing Queen, Wait and See, How Come It Is So Hard To Be The Way You Are, What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life?, For the One I Love, Flight of the Foo-Brids, Love Is Meant For Everybody, Come Together, Strawberry Fields Forever , It Don't Mean a Thing, Kristallen Den Fina
Real Group : Hall Musiken Igang! (Keep The Music Playing)
Review: The Real Group, since their formation 24 years ago, are one of the leading forces in the world of vocal harmony music. "Hall Musiken Igang" (Keep The Music Playing) is the group's 14th recording, a tribute to the legendary Swedish songwriter/artist Povel Ramel. Born in Stockholm to an aristocratic family, Povel Ramel studied piano and got an early start on his career as an entertainer and composer. His first revue, written at age 17, gave him a breakthrough as a composer, "Vart eget blue Hawaii." In 1944 came his first great hit, "Johansson's boogie woogie waltz" and his crazy humor on two radio programs brought him many fans. In the 1950s he developed, with 3 other great talents, a special type of revue, "Knapp-Upp," seen by 5 million people between 1952-62. The revues became more musical and satirized the styles of well-known Swedish composers. Several of Ramel's numbers from this period became classics. Musically these songs fit nicely into the Real Group's flawless, clean, vocal jazz sound, and are big fun to listen to, with samples, asides, faux horns and wonderful vocal percussion. Listen to "Johansson's Boogie Woogie Waltz," and you'll get the picture. The Real Group is one of the best vocal jazz groups we have ever heard, we have loved every one of their albums, and we love "Hall Musiken Igang!"
Songlist: Hall Musiken Igang (Keep The Music Playing), Ta Av Dig Skorna! (Take Your Shoes), Johanssons Boogie Woogie Vals (Johansson's Boogie Woogie Waltz), De Sista Entusiasterna (The Last Enthusiasts), Folj Mig Bortat Vagen (Follow Me About The Way), Den Finska Klockan (The Finnish Clock), The Big Juleblues (The Big Julblues), Underbart €r Kort (Wonderful Is Short), Konditori Forgatmigej (Confectionary Forget-Me-Not)
Real Group : In The Middle Of Life
Review: The A Cappella world is abuzz with the good news: the release of "The Middle of Life," The Real Group's much-anticipated new CD. Even better, "Life" is all new, all originals, all studio and all in English! Anders Edenroth writes the music and lyrics to "Prime Time Blues," a funky, saucy romp that features the title phrase and some state-of-the-art vocal percussion and mock horns, his "Words" is a lyrical, rhythmic masterpiece, "Friendship" has Anders singing a mellow, soaring lead, and his "The Grass Grows Greener" is an instant jazz standard with his voice adding a muted, precise tone. Peder Karlsson writes the understated, bluesy "Mister Father," his "Are You Coming To Me" is a salsa-flavored fiesta tune featuring Katarina on lead, "A Quiet Song" features Peder's slow, bluesy voice, and "Gota," featuring Peder and Katarina, has a simple, meandering melody that builds in intensity to symphonic proportions. Margareta Jalkeus writes "Spring Is Coming" and has a nice, soaring solo riff that becomes a dreamy scat sequence, and has a moody, mysterious lead on her "My Hidden World." Katarina Henryson writes "I Tried," shares writing credits with Anders on the ironic, pop-ish "A Perfect Life," and her bluenote alto on her "Given" is sweetly profound. So much talent here - we find ourselves listening to this CD again and again to appreciate just how far the a cappella envelope has been pushed, and comparing the genius and musical focus of the individual composers. Simply put, "The Middle of Life" is a masterpiece, an unexpected gift from Sweden to be unwrapped and savored on many levels!
Songlist: Prime Time Blues, Mister Father, Words, Spring Is Coming, I Tried, Friendship, Are You Coming To Me?, The Grass Grows Greener, My Hidden World, A Perfect Life, A Quiet Song, Given, Gota
Real Group : Live In Japan
Review: "Live music is a powerful thing" says the opening sentence of this recording's liner notes and for The Real Group it is especially true. Recorded in April 2013 at the intimate jazz club Billboard Live Club in Osaka and Tokyo, this superb recording showcases the stunning voices and sublime arrangements that make the Real Group one of the very best in the business. Some of the songs on the recording have been in their repertoire for awhile but have never been recorded before by current group members Emma and Morton. They bring a fresh new interpretation of the material and its wonderful to hear how these old favorites have developed. There is also plenty of new material such as "Lucky Luke", the Daft Punk song "Harder Better Faster Stronger", the swingin' "Gee! Mine or Mozart's?" and Michael Jackson's "Bad". This reviewer has had the great pleasure of hearing the Real Group perform live and this recording helps relive the experience and for those of you who have not heard them live now here's your chance. The physical CD comes with a lovely color booklet chock full of photos and musings from the group members.
Songlist: Gota, Pass Me The Jazz, Nature Boy, Lucky Luke, Bad, Hellosong, A Life For Me, Catching The Big Fish, Harder Better Faster Stronger, Gee! Mine or Mozart's?, Love's Forever, Love's For You, For Me, For Now, Words, Julfemman, Mister Father, Count Basie Medley
Real Group : Live In Stockholm
Review: Wah-wah-wa-wa-wahao, and so we dive into the beginning of "Splanky," that classic of wordless scat with the driving jazz chords which usually need the accompaniment of a big band to be so effective. Yow! Ok, ok, lets quiet it down with the subtle vocal intertwining of "When I Fall In Love." And now give them a medium tempo, combo feeling, with "Good Bait." Thus a great performance takes the audience though successive tempo changes, moods, and by a recording lets those of us who never had the chance to see the live Real Group experience that. They are so polished that it is easy to forget this is live until the end of each song reminds us of the audience. Every Real Group fan should have this one.?
Songlist: Splanky, When I Fall In Love, Good Bait, Lil darlin', There Will Never Be Another You, Night And Day, Waltz For Debby, 'Round Midnight, I've Found A New Baby, Come Sunday, Strawberry Fields Forever, Den Lysnande Maria
Real Group : Nothing But The Real Group
Review: We can't start with superlatives when describing the Real Group's work. Our thesaurus isn't infinite. Suffice it to say that they are the premiere jazz a cappella group in Sweden. Well, maybe in Europe. Ok, ok, in the world. They open with a choral scat introduction as they launch into an upbeat "It Don't Mean A Thing." Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" never had it so good. Sweet and slow harmonious interplay is the texture of "When I Fall In Love." Don't drift off into a reverie because (pow!) here's the well known "Chili Con Carne," and so we are alternately jazzed and beguiled by a dozen great tunes, all in English.
Songlist: It Don't Mean a Thing, Sir Duke, When I Fall in Love, Chili Con Carne, God Only Knows, As Rain, Drive My Car, There Will Never Be Another You, Come Sunday, Very Early, I'm With You, Everybody Needs Somebody to Love
Real Group : One For All
Review: The Real Group have set a standard, indeed the standard, as the royalty of a cappella vocal jazz. From their youthful beginnings at the Academy of Music in Stockholm, where they acquired the prodigious technical expertise that has since become their trademark, to their current reign as best-selling recording artists, the Real Group has earned widespread recognition and acclaim. In keeping with this tradition, they have released "One For All," containing fourteen mostly original songs, written and sung in proficient English. "I Sing, You Sing," about that song that you just can't seem to get out of your head (and it makes you crazy!) has a simple melody that outlines the triads in bell-like tones; like a nursery rhyme, it is easy to remember and impossible to forget. The ethereal "Three Poems" adapts the verse of Emily Dickinson, the traditional "Vem Kan Segla Fvrutan Vind" features a harmonica solo that compliments the melancholy melody. "One Summer" is one example of many that illustrates why the group is so successful: perfect pitch and arrangements that challenge and cajole the ear combine to produce a sound without compare. This is the vocal jazz release of the year.
Songlist: We're Five, For My Lady, The Venture Of Living, I Found The Key, Walking Down The Street, Hard To Say Goodbye, The Wonderful World Of Sports, I Sing, You Sing, Splanky, A Word, Simplicity, The Lost Jewel, Vem kan segla forutan vind, Small Talk, One Summer, Swedish Hit Medley
Real Group : Original
Review: When musicians totally create their own work rather interpret the songs others have written they naturally embellish their own harmonious strength. Thus it is on Original, in which the tunes are so naturally sung that they become as familiar as standards before they are finished the first time! That is the response of your enthusiastic reviewer who knows not a word of Swedish in which the songs are sung and the notes are written. There is a quiet beauty infusing this whole album which will beguile you into listening to it again and again.
Songlist: Alla talar med varandra, en sommar, stå och se på, ett liv fr mig, hon som jag vill va, jag vill va med dig, somna min vn, vart har alla gentlemn tagit vgen, gå frbi dig sjlv, kp dig ett ord, nu, bara vi