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 ˆ male and female voices - you'll find at least one group whose music you want to take home and cuddle up to here.
Displaying 201-250 of 262 items.
High and Dry
Review: Mixed Vocal Jazz quartet Syncopation represented Boston well at the recent Harmony Sweeps Finals in San Rafael, CA, winning a strong ovation from the sellout crowd for songs like the sweet, soaring "High and Dry," which is here on "Wonderful You." There are 9 songs here, our favorites are the a cappella songs, Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" and the aforementioned "High and Dry." Of the others, "Invisible War," lightly piano-accompanied, is very nice, as are the more heavily accompanied songs "Breakout," "I Can Fly," the title tune (from The Big Chill), Lennon/McCartney's "Broken Wings" the Motown tune "Betcha By Golly, Wow" and "Getaway." Beautiful leads, harmonies and arrangements, but let us once again make it clear that "Wonderful You" is mostly an accompanied album.
Songlist: Breakout, I Can Fly, Wonderful You (Big Chill), High and Dry, Invisible War, Broken Wings, Betcha By Golly, Wow, Getaway, Both Sides Now
Review: From the first strains of the opening track, "Sisters," it's clear that Betcha Bottom Dollar is not a typical debut album. But then the Puppini Sisters are not a typical pop act, at least not in the 21st century. Their close, three-part harmonies are reminiscent of the vocal groups of the 1930s and 1940s, and particularly the Andrews Sisters. But rather than sounding like an anachronism, the Puppini Sisters merely demonstrate the timelessness of some of these songs. Betcha Bottom Dollar is fresh, fun and vibrant, blowing the dust off of cobwebby classics like "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "Mr. Sandman". Elsewhere, they also put their own unique stamp on more recent hits, with varying results. While Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" fail to get things swinging, Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and the Smiths' "Panic" are both injected with a fresh new (old?) sound. Much credit must also be given to producer Benoit Charest, who manages to employ a whole host of instrumentation and orchestration, whilst never forgetting to put the voices of the Puppini Sisters front and centre. It might be easy to dismiss the Puppini Sisters' debut as another novelty album, but their intentions and love for the style--like their voices themselves--are crystal clear.
Songlist: Sisters, Mr.Sandman, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Java Jive, Bei Mir Bist Du Sehon, Wuthering Heights, Jeepers Creepers, I Will Survive, Tu Quo Fa L'americano, Heart Of Glass, Sway, Danie, Heebie Jeebies, In Mood
Review: Minnesota-based Swing/Pop/Jazz quartet 3 Hits and a Miss, founded in 1995, really come into their vocal power with "Mixing," their third excellent CD. Return with us now to the 1940s (covers of the Turtles' "Happy Together," the 5th Dimensions' "Up, Up and Away/Aquarius," the Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreamin'" and Lennon/McCartney's "Nowhere Man" and "Got to Get You Into My Life" notwithstanding)--this is wonderfully crafted "high-fidelity" harmony. The afore-mentioned covers fit in beautifully because they have the kind of beautiful melodies that could have been hits in the 40s. All accompanied, these 12 hits just keep on comin': "Bounce Me Brother with a Solid Four/Four," "Pop Goes the Weasel," "Goody Goody," "Glow Worm," "Dream" and bonus track, Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." This CD is big fun from start to finish, and 3 Hits and a Miss are having it--they prove that they can sing with the best of any musical period!
Songlist: Bounce Me Brother With A Solid Four (Raye, Prince/Davis), Nowhere Man (Lennon McCartney), Happy Together (Bonner, Gordon), Pop Goes the Weasel, Goody Goody (Malneck, Mercer), Glow Worm (Incke, Robinson, Mercer), Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Psychadelic Flashback, Up, Up and Away / Aquarius (Webb/McDermott, Ragni, Rado), California Dreamin' (Phillips, Gilliam), Dream (Mercer), Got To Get You Into My Life (Lennon, McCartney), This Land Is Your Land (Guthrie)
Review: Jody Briskey, Rob Dorn, Jerry Elbernd and JP Fitzgibbons, missionaries of "high fidelity harmony" are determined to preserve the music of the 1940s and 50s with fresh, new recordings. In 12 (accompanied) fun covers, they tip their hats to the Pied Pipers, Merry Macs, Modernaires, Rosemary Clooney ("Mambo Italiano") and the Lettermen ("Canadian Sunset" and L-O-V-E). There's a great "Radio Cavalcade/Glow worm/Mairzy Doats" medley. Other favorites: "I'll Never Smile Again," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "I Got Rhythm/It Don't Mean A Thing" and "Memories of You." This CD is a swinging, foot-tapping good time!
Songlist: The Sweetest Sound / Sing Sing Sing / Hit That Jive Jack, Sentimental Journey, Mambo Italiano, Canadian Sunset, Radio Cavalcade / Glow Worm / Mairzy Doats, I'll Never Smile Again, Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree, Reprise: Radio Cavalcade, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, L-O-V-E, I Got Rhythm / It Don't Mean A Thing, Memories Of You
Review: Master director and educator Gene Aitken of the famed University of Northern Colorado's Jazz Studies Program shows off three of his best groups on "Hot IX," mixed-voice jazz quintet the Axidentals, who are accompanied by a hot jazz band on 8 songs like Duke Ellington's "Caravan," Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al" and Kurt Weil's "Mack the Knife," also perform one nice a cappella cut, "Quiet Now." 3-men, 3-women a cappella ensemble Et Cetera then gives us nice covers of "Singing In The Rain," Harold Arlen's "If I Only Had a Brain" and Randy Crenshaw's "Scat Blues in C." All woman jazz quartet Sus 4 finishes with a hot accompanied cover of Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia," a moody a cappella cover of "For All We Know," and accompanied covers of "We" and Gloria Estefan's "Get On Your Feet." This is another strong, spirited collection from these 3 great UNC jazz ensembles.
Songlist: Bam Bam Bam, Caravan, A Sleeping Bee, Quiet Now, You're Nobody, Gotta Get You Into My Life, You Can Call Me Al, Mack the Knife, Ray Idea, Singing in the Rain, If I Only Had A Brain, Scat Blues in C, A Night In Tunisia, For All We Know, We, Get On Your Feet
Review: "Hot V" is a mostly accompanied collection of 10 tunes by the award-winning University of Northern Colorado's 2-man, 2-woman Jazz quartet, the Axidentals. Three very nice a cappella selections, Jeremy Lubbock's "Goodbye Love" and "Not Like This," and "How Do You Keep The Music Playing" are standouts. Accompanied favorites are Richie Cole's "New York Afternoon," Gene Puerling's "Gotcha," Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad," Al Jarreau's "Easy" and a powerful live cover of "Waitin' For the Robert E. Lee." Every one of these Roman numeral-numbered collections from Aitken's UNC program has been a spirited, entertaining, beautifully-recorded winner, some of the best Collegiate Jazz we've heard!
Songlist: I Got It Bad, Epainos, Goodbye Love, New York Afternoon, A Night in Tunisia, Gotcha, Not Like This, Easy, How Do You Keep the Music Playing?, Waitin For the Robert E. Lee
Review: Renowned director Gene Aitken is considered one of the most exciting and energetic educators and clinicians today, and his Jazz Studies Program at the University of Northern Colorado has received a Grammy nomination and more Down Beat magazine awards and National Endowment for the Arts grants than any other institution. The 3-man, 2-women Axidentals perform with a very hot 5-piece jazz ensemble, but they also have several fine a cappella cuts on "Hot XI," including Rodgers & Hart's "My Heart Stood Still," Mark Murphy's "Gone," "It Don't Mean a Thing," and Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday." All woman jazz quartet Sus 4 also perform "Invitation" and "Love for Sale" with 5-piece jazz accompaniment. Two man, 3 woman a cappella jazz ensemble Et Cetera's "Paradise," "Old Man River" and a cover of the Average White Band's "Pick Up The Pieces" are other favorites. An excellent collection from some of the best Collegiate jazz groups in the country!
Songlist: Somethin's Coming, My Heart Stood Still, Gone, Lazy River, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, It Don't Mean a Thing, Yatra Ta, Teach Me Tonight, Come Sunday, Night and Day, Invitation, Love for Sale, Paradise, Old Man River, Pick Up the Pieces
Review: The University of North Colorado in Greeley's choice of renowned educator and clinician Gene Aitken as Director of their Jazz Studies Program was a very, very good move, leading to an unprecedented Grammy nomination and more Down Beat magazine awards and National Endowment for the Arts grants than any other institution. Featured here are his 3-man, 2-woman Axidentals, performing here with some jazz ensemble accompaniment on P. Winter's title tune (arranged by Randy Crenshaw), "Soul With a Capital "S," and Rodgers & Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things;" but also a cappella on the traditional "Shenandoah," Anders Edenroth's "Chile Con Carne" and the scattish "There'll Never Be Another You." Two man, 3 woman a cappella jazz ensemble Et Cetera's "For the Beauty of the Earth," which soars into surprising directions, and a cover of Sting's "Seven Days" follow. All woman jazz quartet Sus 4 close with B. Dorough's upbeat, accompanied "I've Got Just About Everything" and the moody, a cappella "You Don't Know What Love Is." "Hot XII" is everything we've come to expect fro the UNC Jazz Studies Program, top-quality, well-chosen, beautifully performed and directed, Collegiate Jazz!
Songlist: Dancing Particles, I'm Beginning to See the Light, Shenandoah, Chili Con Carne, There'll Never Be Another You, Soul With a Capital"S", My Favorite Things, For the Beauty of the Earth, Seven Days, I've Got Just About Everything, You Don't Know What Love is
Review: The University of Northern Colorado is one of the most well respected educational centers for vocal jazz studies thanks to the efforts of Gene Aitken, the director of the program since 1976. You will not believe that these are all "students" for their singing is so good and the arrangements so sophisticated it doesn't seem possible, even though it is true. The bulk of the album, 14 of the 17 tracks, is sung by Et Cetera a mixed sextet. Though jazz predominates with such selections as "For The One I Love" and "As Rain" by Anders Edenroth of the Real Group or "One More Time Chuck Corea" by Gene Puerling, there is a strong rock 'n roll presence. The final three tunes were recorded live by a larger jazz chorus, Vocal Jazz I. Discover this one! It's a sleeper.
Songlist: It Ain't Necessarily So, Episode: Prelude, For The One I Love, Every Breath You Take, Kiss From A Rose, Kite, Out Of Town, Shambala, Gone With The Wind, I'll Be There For You, As Rain, Won't You Be My Neighbor, One More Time Chuck Corea, Unchained Melody, Vocal Jazz I, Brasilia, Move On Over, Harvest
Review: Urban Voices, three men and two women from Switzerland, have brought us a strikingly impressive debut jazz CD here. Much of the content is composed by members of the group and the arrangements, as intricate and complex as those of a state-of-the-art instrumental band, tailor-made to fit the singers. Among the vocal percussion sounds is the sharp sound of a hi hat, giving UV a trademark jazz sound, to go with some of the best vocal "horns" we've heard. 12 songs: "City Lights," "How Insensitive," the title tune, "When I Fall In Love," "On The Run," "The Sky so High," "En Eranjuez Con Tu Amor," "Lullaby," "Superheroes," "Almost There," "My Foolish Heart" and "WYSIWYG--DJ Micri Remix." "The Gang" shows Urban Voices to be, seemingly effortlessly, in the company of such greats as Manhattan Transfer, the NY Voices and Vox One. And like Vox One's "Chameleon," you'll find yourself listening to it again and again to truly appreciate what the singers are doing. Amazing and highly recommended!
Songlist: City Lights, How Insensitive, The Gang, When I Fall In Love, On The Run, The Sky So High, En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor, Lullaby, Superheroes, Almost There, My Foolish Heart, WYSIWYG
Review: It's always a good idea to remember that jazz, together with cinema, has been the major form of artistic expression for the past hundred years. The intention of SAGAJAZZ is to relate its history, and explore it in a new, original way. Seen from a different angle, its historic figures - Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, etc. - can now be rediscovered through a series of records devoted to various aspects of their work. This journey through Jazz-land is also accompanied by albums that are thematic, dealing with subjects as serious as styles, instruments, repertoire, humor, love, dancing, trains, cats...
Songlist: Hotter Than That, Four or Five Times, Decatur Street Tutti, Beedle-Um-Bum, I Got Rhythm, Some of These Days, Sweet Sue, Just You, Zaz Zuz Zah, I've Found a New Baby, Ring Dem Bells, What's This?, I Love the Rhythm in a Riff, Flying Home, Sonny Boy, Budella (Blue Skies), Oh, Lady Be Good, Honesuckle Rose, Oop-Pop-A-Da, Rockin' in Rhythm, How High the Moon, Cherokee, Jump Did-Le-Ba
Review: If you love a cappella vocal jazz then this CD is for you. These four groups from four countries are certainly some of the top vocal groups performing today and this compilation features some of their best songs. The Real Group (Sweden), Idea of North (Australia), M-Pact (US) and Rajaton (Finland) are highly regarded by aficionados and this recording is a great introduction to the genre.
Songlist: Amazing Voice Song, A Cappella in Acapulco, Singin' A Cappella, Fantasy, Butterfly, Words, Almost Like Being in Love, The Wild Song, Thou Shalt, You Need to Know, A Life for Me, Salty Water, Isn't She Lovely
With Every Breath I Take
Review: Founded in 2002, all-women Dutch Vocal Jazz quartet Velvet Voices has been appearing in some serious European and international events, like the 2003 Voice Mania in Vienna, the Jeunesse-the largest German a cappella festival in Munich), and they won the Jazz Gold at the international "Ward Swingle Awards." There are 11 finely-crafted tunes on "Essence," the group's 5th excellent album, some wonderful covers like Lennon/McCartney's "Come Together," Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," Cy Coleman's "With every breath I take," Freddie Mercury's "You take my breath away," Brown, Sutton and Brody's "Stop," a fine faux trumpet solo on Harold Arlen's "Somewhere over the rainbow," Jones and Wilder's "A child is born," and Paul Jabara and Paul Shaffer's "It's raining man." There's also a pair of very nice originals by group member Gerda, the moody "Try to remember" and "Quarter to five," and one original by group member Monika, the title tune. Each of these beautiful young women can easily sing perfect solos and leads, so even a difficult, dissonant piece like "A child is born" comes off as effortless, and the harmonies are clean, sharp and on perfect pitch. Even a powerful rocker like "It's raining man," which is reprised as a surprise bonus cut with amped-up vocal percussion, is cleanly nailed both times with no sweat. The voices here are so perfect, the sound so effortlessly clean, we had to listen to it again just to fully appreciate it. "Essence" is a gift for the ears by the Velvet Voices, who have, in a very short time, risen to a level attained by only a few elite Vocal Jazz groups, like the Real Group, Vox One and the Swingle Singers. Treat yourself to one of the best of the year!
Songlist: Come Together, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, With Every Breath I Take, Try to Remember, Quarter to Five, You Take my Breath Away, Stop, Somewhere over the Rainbow, A Child is Born, Essence, It's Raining Men, Surprise
It Could Happen To You
Review: Arising from an artist-in-residency program under Grammy-nominee Phil Mattson, who recorded their debut CD with them, "Is God a Three-Letter Word for Love?," and now self-directed, "Distilled" is Vocalogy's 3rd excellent CD. "Distilled" is an all jazz-band accompanied collection of 13 jazz standards and originals, some favorites: Charles Mingus/Joni Mitchell's tongue-in-cheek "Dry Cleaner from Des Moines," smoky-jazz arrangements of Lennon/McCartney's "Oh Darlin'," and Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time," a latin treatment of "Just Friends," two Jimmy Van Heusen classics, "It Could Happen to You" and "I Thought About You," Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto #2" turned into a bluenote lament, a sassy, upbeat "Groove Merchant," a stark arrangement of Paul Simon's "Old Friends," and, despite our interest in the local Giants, David Frishberg's "Dodger Blue." As we've noticed in a number of cases, Phil Mattson's musical progeny are unfailingly outstanding, and vocally, all accompaniment aside, Vocalogy is right up there with the best in jazz!
Songlist: Dry Cleaner From Des Moines, Black Orpheus, Oh Darlin', Nutville, Some Other Time, Just Friends, It Could Happen To You, I Thought About You, Theme From Piano Concerto #2, Groove Merchant, Old Friends, Time Is A Healer, Dodger Blue
Almost Like Being In Love
Review: Three men, three women sextet Vocation was formed in 1999 at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden,and were helped by conductor Lone Larsen in shaping their unique sound. Reviewers have compared them to a heady list - the Real Group, Take 6, Manhattan Transfer and the New York Voices. Playing regularily on Swedish radio and TV, Vocation won "Choice of the Audience Award" at the International Vocal Group Fest in Tilburg, Holland in 2002. Eleven songs, a few accompanied by jazz band, eight in English: Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing," "Without a Song," Johnny Mercer's "I Remember You" and "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Gee Baby ain't I Good to You?," plus the a cappella "Almost Like Being in Love," "Not Like This" and "Nature Boy." There's also three very nice pieces in Swedish, particularly "Nar Charlie ar fudd," with music by Hoagy Carmichael, we would guess that "Charlie" refers to jazz great Charlie Parker. The sound is bright and hot, the English flawless, and Vocation swims easily in the company of MT, NY Voices, Real Group and other big fishes in the vocal jazz school. A very impressive and enjoyable debut CD!
Songlist: It Don't Mean A Thing, Without A Song, Regnets sang, Nar Charlie ar todd, I Remember You, Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You, Almost Like Being In Love, Imorron, Hot Like This, Nature Boy, Come Rain of Come Shine
Review: St. Paul, MN-based 3-woman, 2-man jazz quintet Voice Trek has a rich, clean, poised sound, and arrangements that can turn very familiar tunes like the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride," Dave Brubeck's jazz anthem "Take Five," Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" and Michel LeGrand's "Windmills of Your Mind" and turn them into new songs, unexpectedly tasty musical treats. There's a spirited, sassy cover of Rossini's "William Tell Overture" that would have the Swingles looking over their shoulders, Sinatra's "Fly Me To The Moon" becomes a (lightly accompanied) scattish, salsa romp, and Toto's "Rosanna" is a finger-snapping winner, as is Brazilian composer Manfredo Fest's energetic "That's What She Says." A bonus track, "America the Beautiful," was included "after the tremendous response from the a cappella community when they performed it at the West Coast Summit!" 11 songs, each a many-faceted gem. "An A cappella Trek," Voice Trek's 5th recording, is a joy from beginning to end, one of the best Vocal Jazz CDs we've heard this year!
Songlist: That's What She Says, Ticket to Ride, Take Five, Both Sides Now, The William Tell Overture, A Little Luck, Fly Me to the Moon, The Windmills of Your Mind, Rosanna, America the Beautiful
Review: Voice Trek established their reputation as one of the premiere vocal groups through the release of three seasonal albums (Christmas). For years they have been implored by fans to record a jazz record to which their lush harmonies are so suited. Thus, after 10 years of singing together, they recorded At Last. Three sisters, Shelley, Vicki, and Rae, are complemented by tenor Denis Alaire, and baritone Howard Hilde in this primarily accompanied selection of 9 songs which are each long enough for thorough expression.Though accompaniment includes a piano/bass/drum combo and midi, rich vocals toward the easy listening end of the jazz spectrum are substance of this recording.
Songlist: Yesterdays, Nina, Jamaica Farewell, Not Like This, La Fiesta, Mickey's Diner, You're Everything, Peace, At Last
Songlist: To Be Sung Of A Summer Night On The Water, The Lords Prayer, Cavatina, Adoro Te Devote, An Angels Song, Sanctus, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Gymnopedie, Ubi Caritus, Clair De Lune, The Lord Bless You And Keep You
Review: Twenty-strong, mixed-voice RSVP was founded in 2000 by Artistic Director Julie Adams, with the purpose of bringing people together through the arts and giving back to the community. They have presented uplifting and powerful live performances, donating all proceeds to to 15 local charities. RSVP's concerts have supported programs for the elderly, the abused, the neglected, the hungry, the poor, the illiterate and the homeless. We like the chosen purpose of this talented ensemble, and we love their music!
Songlist: The Swan, Ave Maria, Agnus Dei , In Paradisum, All Things Bright And Beautiful, Reverie, Pange Lingua (Chant), Tantum Ergo, Panis Angelicus, Beati Quorum Via, Pavane , Gaelic Blessing (Deep Peace)
Review: The bouyant sound of the Voices Iowa, conducted and arranged by Phil Mattson, certainly one of the most prominent jazz educators in the field. Emanating from the same general neighborhood as the Singers Unlimited or Real Group, Voices Iowa actually covers one Real Group arrangement on this CD-"Sa Skimrande Var Aldrig Havet"-as well as Take 6's "Gold Mine," so they certainly set a high standard for themselves. "Blues In the Night" is smoky and seductive, "Satchmo" a picaresque tribute to Louis Armstrong that sets lyrics to a Joplin rag. "If I Loved You" is is an economical a cappella version that shows why Phil Mattson is so respected-every note is important, neither too many or too few. Five of the songs are accompanied.
Songlist: Here's To Life, Almighty God/Heaven, Gold Mine, Corcavado, Blues In The Night, If I Loved You, Satchmo, I Remember Clifford, Sa Skimrande Var Aldrig Havet
Review: Protogees of Phil Mattson, Voices Iowa are students at the prestigious School For Music Vocations/Southwestern Community College. Under such tutelage, one recognizes a burgeoning talent that will be the vocal jazz sound of tomorrow. Indeed, Bobby McFerrin's "Jubilee" is an athletic workout requiring stamina and fortitude, while, on the opposite end of the spectrum, "Body and Soul" demands an equal measure of control and abandon (the latter a Grammy nominated arrangement originally written for the Manhattan Transfer, and complimented by Richie Cole's saxophone). Cole Porter's "Love For Sale" (a cappella) is anchored by a finger-snapping rhythm and connected by walking bass notes, and finishes with an aexhilarating vocal glissando, a veritable firecracker.
Songlist: Since All is Passing, I Hear Music, How Do You Keep The Music Playing, Jubilee, Body And Soul, Yag Vet In Delig Rosa, Love For Sale, Embraceable You, Yours In My Heart Alone, Dancing In The Dark, Bons Amigos, That Lonesome Road
Review: Mixed sextet (3 men, 3 women) VoicesIowa, ably produced by the renowned Phil Mattson (who also did all the arrangements), brings us ten mellow jazz classics: George and Ira Gershwin's "Fascinating Rhythm" and 'S Wonderful," Kurt Weill's "Speak Low," "Mack The Knife" and "September Song," Duke Ellington's "I'm Beginning To See The Light," "Close Enough For Love," "I've Got You Under My Skin," Stevie Wonder's "That's What Friends Are For" and "I'm In The Mood For Love." VoicesIowa is associated with the excellent Southwestern Community College School For Music Vocations, where the CD was recorded. This is bright, crisp, tight-harmonied, stunningly arranged, lightly accompanied (bass, drums and piano), smoky cool vocal jazz.
Songlist: Facinating Rhythm, Speak Low, I'm Beginning To See The Light, Close Enough For Love, I've Got You Under My Skin, That's What Friends Are For, I'm In The Mood For Love, Mack The Knive, 'S Wonderful, September Song
Over The Rainbow
Review: Renowned jazz educator Phil Mattson's sure touch is everywhere on "Without A Song;" all the arrangements are his, and he produces and plays light piano on the CD (bass and drums are also included on some cuts). Mattson protegees VoicesIowa, students or alumni of prestigious Southwestern Community College's School for Music Vocations (4 men, 2 women) have a bright, effortless sound that invites comparison with the Real Group and The Idea of North. Technically there are just 5 cuts on the CD, but on the first cut, for instance, a sleepy "Without A Song," segues into a scattish "The Song Is You," continues with a sweetly jazzy "You Are The Sunshine of My Life before returning to an upbeat "Without A Song" refrain; and cut 4, "A Hoagy Carmichael Tribute," includes the lightly accompanied "The Nearness of You," "Heart and Soul," "I Get Along Without You Very Well," "Georgia On My Mind," "Ole Buttermilk Sky," "Stardust," "Lazybones," "Two Sleepy People," "Skylark" and "Lazy River." Two a cappella tunes, "Alfie" and the final cut , "Over the Rainbow" are particularly nice. Mattson doesn't waste a note, and VoicesIowa is an apt, finely-tuned instrument for his genius.
Songlist: Without A Song , The Song Is You, You Are The Sunshine of My Life, Alfie, Just The Way You Are, The Nearness Of You, Heart and Soul , I Get Along Without You Very Well, Georgia On My Mind, Ole' Buttermilk Sky, Stardust, Lazybones, Two Sleepy People, Skylark, Lazy River, Over The Rainbow
Review: The Southwestern Community College has a tradition of turning out excellent harmony singers, under the direction of the highly-respected director Phil Mattson. The six-piece mixed "Voices Iowa" is a fine example. "Pick Yourself Up" is a dizzying rendition of the Kern/Fields classic, a daring flight into the upper registers. Bach's "Largo" yields willingly to a fine scat treatment; "Come Sunday" has the same heartbreakingly beautiful arrangement as that of the Real Group, but the tone qualities of the voices are quite distinct to Voices Iowa. "What A Wonderful World" comes alive, the notes a joyous burst of sunshine on a spring morning.
Songlist: What A Wonderful World, Pick Yourself Up, Largo, Revoici Venir Du Printemps, Come Sunday, Lo How A Rose E're Blooming, Love is Here to Stay, Music For Lovers, More I Cannot Wish You, And So It Goes, Look for the Silver Lining, You Must Believe in Spring
Review: Vox Concordia is a four-man, four-women Vocal Jazz octet from England, who bring us this excellent debut recording of 14 a cappella tunes. They begin with two arranged by Jonathan Rathbone, ex-Musical Director of the Swingle Singers, "Jeepers Creepers" and "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," a Graham Smith arrangement of the Carpenters' hit "Superstar, a Swingles arrangement of "It Don't Mean a Thing (if it Ain't Got that Swing)," a live, rousing cover of Stephen Foster's "Oh, Susannah!" (with the first faux banjo we've heard)," the very funny live "Adieu, Mon Amour," Irving Berlin's "Puttin' on the Ritz," Randy Newman's touching "When She Loved Me," the pulse-quickening "All Rise," and finally "A Celtic Prayer" with music by Graham Webb are favorites. This is a fine recording and a great addition to anybody's collection.
Songlist: Jeepers Creepers, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Superstar, The Way You Look Tonight, It Don't Mean a Thing, If It Aint Got That Swing, Smile, Oh Susannah!, Adieu, Mon Amour, A Dream Is A Wish, Puttin On The Ritz, When She Loved Me, Soul Bossa Nova, All Rise, A Celtic Prayer
Review: This may well be the last album of jazz virtuosos, Vox One." These musicians created the most polished jazz (on the rock and blues edge of the spectrum) by anyone so far. Meticulous arrangements sung by superb performers make you forget any prior arrangement that was the benchmark to your mind's ear for how a particular song was supposed to sound. From the opening wail of the vocal electric guitar and definitive drum beat on "Chameleon" to the complex chord structures on "Round Midnight," you will be lost in a panoply of possibilities for the human voice. John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Harold Arlen, Herbie Hancock, Theolonius Monk and more are treated with nothing short of the genius they deserve. The title cut from one of our best selling CD's ever, "Chameleon," is a cool and refreshing cocktail of vocal jazz. Having emerged from the highly regarded Berklee School of Music, their sound reflects the talent and training that enables them to articulate sophisticated musical concepts with ease. This amazingly rich sonic tapestry is heard in the bent notes of the "guitar" and the slur of the "bass" on this track-amazing!
Songlist: Chameleon, Naima (My Dreams), Moonglow, All Blues, Danny Boy, On Green Dolphin Street, You Don't Know What Love Is, Over the Rainbow, Teen Town, 'Round Midnight
Whisper When I Speak
Review: In announcing the CARA winners for 1996, the Contemporary A Cappella Newsletter used the following statement to announce the Album Of The Year. "In a year of extremely strong nominees for best album, Vox One's little-publicized "Out There" takes first place because it has everything. Exceptional songwriting, glowing arrangements, magnificent solo performances and top rate production all combine to make this the sleeper album of 1995. Somehow Vox One manages to combine elements of pop, rock, blues and jazz without compromising the exacting demands of any of the styles. The resulting blend is infectious and definitive, proving "Out There" to be one of the best contemporary albums ever." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Songlist: Searching For You, Whisper When I Speak, The Eyes Of A Jungle, Gone By, Save Me, The Sky Is Crying, Say You'll Always Be, That Which You Love, Morning, Out There
Review: What immediately strikes one upon listening to Vox One's new "Pure Imagination" CD is how good they are not in a flashy, notice we are brilliant singers kind of way, but in a deeply felt, technically beyond question, born to sing way that shows us all of us lesser talents how its done. After seven years, one of a cappella's most accomplished (and recognized) vocal jazz groups returns to the CD player with a satisfying collection of originals, covers and improvs. Yes, Vox One has matured and is exploring new styles, including Indian ragas and world music tinged vocal jams. For those loyal listeners who loved "Chameleon," "Out There" and "Say You Love Me" and have been waiting for an encore, there are the standards such as "Pure Imagination" (written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley), and the traditional "Aura Lee," but there are plenty of new songs composed by the group, as well as the six improvised tracks that offer plenty of room for the the five members (Yumiko Matsuoka, Paul Pampinella, Paul Stiller, Jodi Jenkins Ainsworth and Tom Baskett) to stake out new vocal territory. These Berklee College of Music faculty members exemplify what it is to harmonize, blend and intonate with sublime perfection, and we thank them!
Songlist: Pure Imagination, Kind of a 3Paul Stiller, Improv 1, Simple Gifts, Improv 2, Try, Take Me Out To The Ballgame, Improv 3, Woodstock, Leave It To Me, Improv 4, Aura Lee, Improv 5, I Wish, You Know
Review: This Japanese release features seven songs not before released in the U.S.. For fans of Vox One, we are already preaching to the choir, but for the uninitiated, this contemporary jazz quintet has all of the technique of the Real Group, with a compelling edge of intensity and emotion. Therefore, a traditional such as "Shenandoah," using brilliant dynamics, phrasing and an admirable combination of tension and release, is transcendent, whereas classic pop - Carol King's "It's Too Late" - is given a heartbreaking harmonic complexity and richness. The arpeggiated chord accompaniment in the verse, so simple, yet effective, shows why a talented arranger can elevate the ordinary to greatness. When Vox One swings into the standard, "Autumn Leaves," they prove that they do no less than weave straw into gold.
Songlist: My Cherie Amour, Time After Time, Say You Love Me, Shenandoah, Whisper When I Speak , It's Too Late, Autumn Leaves, Lovin' You, Out There, White Christmas
My Old Kentucky Home
Review: As you might suspect from the self-titling, this is the first recording released in what has come to be recognized as the must-have trilogy of albums by Vox One. Lets go though it. "Edelweiss" is such a difficult harmonization that it became a signature performance tune for the group. "My Romance" almost sounds like a pop/jazz standard only better. "Why Blue" was written by member Yumiko Matsuoka and features a bass and percussive underpinning to a complex wordless scat that's nothing short of great. "The Water Is Wide" is just plain beautiful. "Respect"... well, move over Aretha (sacrilege!). There isn't room in this review! Suffice it to say that the three originals are a portent of things to come, the covers original.
Songlist: Edelweiss, My Romance, Why Blue?, The Water Is Wide, Respect, Ol' Man River, Move On, My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night!, Could You Believe, Missin' You, Amazing Grace
Fly Me To the Moon
Review: Vox P, who hail from Denmark but sing in impeccable English, present a collection of standards performed with an undeniable intensity and brilliance. It's this kind of mastery that allows "Fly Me To The Moon" "What Kind of Fool Am I" and "I'm Just Foolin' Myself" to sound fresh and invigorating. The arrangements, by tenor and bass Bo Gad and Jacob Marstrand, are challenging, but never excessive. Soprano Henriette Moos and alto Birgitte Askou are formidable talents; the latter's ability to be both vixenish and achingly tender, coupled with her lustrous tone, are remarkable. The bass' use of "ghost notes" enable the rhythms to really swing. This is a CD you will play again and again.
Songlist: Fly Me to the Moon, What King of Fool Am I, Ability to Swing, Tux 66, He's Asleep, The Bare Necessities, I'm Just Foolin' Myself, Jeg Plukker Flojlsgraes, The Shape of My Heart, One Hundred Ways, A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes, Duet, A Cappella Wa-Ka-Doo, The Little Sandman
Review: Portugese jazz/contemporary group Vozes Da Radio's first album "Burxas, Herois & Males D'Amor" ("Witches, Heroes and Love Pains"), recorded in 1995, is mostly a cappella, mostly original, with all arrangements by the group. Considered one of the ten best CD's of the year by the Portugese newspaper "Publico," the group is well-known in their country and shares the bill at stadiums venues with pop and rock bands. The ballad "Ternura," accompanied by solo guitar, is one of their most-requested songs. In general their sound is vocal bass intensive, homophonic, with a natural vocal approach and minimal production or effects. Transcending the typical pop triads with non-diatonic chords and inversions, they have crafted an appealing adult contemporary style.
Songlist: Margarida, Quanto Ao Lembrar, Ternura, Super-Ome, Indios Da Meia Praia, Viagem (Carrocel), Negro Romance, As Voltas Do Vira, Doiro, Lagartixa Do Mal, Valsinha Do Adeaus, Di Voce
Time Goes By
Review: Rhiannon, Joey Blake and David Worm are veterans of Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra, and have been involved in the quest to determine how far the human voice can go, individually and with other voices. "World Tour 2007" is an amazing live recording of WeBe3's performance at the Vic in Santa Monica, with Rhiannon mostly singing the leads, Blake adding yummy deep bass lines and Worm making sounds very much like a man playing a drum set. There are 10 cuts, "The Wind," "Ascona Sky," the exotic "Istanbul Blue," "Zingahlae," with Joey taking the lead, the finger-snapping, stream-of-feline-consciousness "Dear Cats," "WeBe3," "Time Goes By," a worthy attempt to describe the experience of living in 3 minutes, "Spontaneous Swing," the crazed "Serbian Taxi Ride" and "Let It Be So." Each of these 3 to 7 minute pieces is at once funny, joyous, unexpected, liberating and amazing. "World Tour 2007" is a pair of top-drawer vocalists and a sublime vocal percussionist going off in the direction of the standing bass- and snare drum-accompanied beat poets at San Francisco coffee houses, but on a whole other level musically and improvisationally. "Live and Improvised" is surprising and delightful from the first cut to the last!
Songlist: The Wind, Ascona Sky, Istanbul Blue, Zingahlae, Dear Cats, WeBe3, Time Goes By, Spontaneous Swing, Serbian Taxi Ride, Let It Be So
Nobody But Yourself
Review: We loved New York City's own 3 men, 2 women Vocal Jazz quintet West Side 5 at the 2010 Harmony Sweeps Finals in San Rafael, their first self-titled EP album, and "West Side 5," this remarkable 12-cut debut CD! The 5 have the kind of sophisticated, buttery jazz harmonies, sweet original arrangements of jazz, pop, show tunes and bossa nova songs and some of the best faux horns we've heard. Some favorites are Billy Strayhorn's "Take the A Train," the Disney standard "Someday My Prince Will Come," Sammy Cahn's "Call Me Irresponsible" and "I Fall In Love Too Easily;" George Shearing's "Lullabye of Birdland," Jones/Schmidt's poignant "Try to Remember," Hupfeld's "As Time Goes By," Tim Eller's bright, scattish "Self-Absorbed, and Newley/Bricusse's "Pure Imagination." "If they can make it there, they'll make it anywhere" is absolutely true, and Lara, Sara, John, Eric & Steven are commonly compared to such elite groups as the Real Group and New York Voices. Great jazz, album and group, don't miss this one!
Songlist: Take the A-Train, Someday My Price Will Come, Nobody But Yourself, Wave, Call Me Irresponsible, In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning, Lullaby of Birdland, As Times Goes By, Try To Remember, Self-Absorbed, I Fall In Love Too Easily, Pure Imagination
Review: The Western Wind was formed in 1969 and two of the founders are still singing. Perhaps the longevity of the group is due to the fact that their repertoire includes everything except heavy metal. This particular album includes classic American love songs form 1920 to 1950. The works include songs by Rogers and Hart, George Gershwin, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Brian Wilson and John Denver. Though mostly jazz, their classical training comes through on "My Funny Valentine," particularly. Two songs, "Oh, Lady Be Good" and "I Got Rhythm"were arranged by Dick Hyman who accompanies the group on piano. The cd notes include biographies of the composers and info about the music.
Songlist: I'm Beginning To See The Light, Mood Indigo, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, My Funny Valentine, Oh, Lady Be Good, I Got Rhythm, 'Round Midnight, Well You Needn't, Ruby My Dear, Leaving On A Jet Plane, I Can't Make You Love Me, In My Room, Sh'boom, Life Could Be A Dream
Where Is Love?
Review: Founder of legendary Boston-based Vocal Jazz group Vox One, Yumiko has always been one of our favorite vocalists and arrangers. She has two excellent collections of arrangements in the PAC catalog, "Collection Vol. 1" and "Collection Vol. 2." The Anthology "To Every Thing" is her first solo album, and it includes a piece Yumiko wrote for acoustic guitar for some friends' wedding, "Tsubasa," her arrangement of Billy Joel's "And So It Goes," performed by the Western Wind with Yumiko, and her marvelous arrangements of the English Traditional tunes "Scarborough Fair," "Black is the Color" and the title tune, performed by Boston Jazz Voices. The Western Wind also shines on Yumiko's arrangements of Lionel Bart's "Where Is Love" and Lennon/McCartney's "Eleanor Rigby." Yumiko's classically accompanied arrangement of Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind," her lovely arrangement of Joanie Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," performed by Syncopation; and the Scottish Traditional "Skye Boat Song," performed by Yumiko with the women of the Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble, are all favorites. "To Every Thing" is a remarkable collection, highlighting the tremendous vocal, arranging and composing talents of Vocal Jazz master Yumiko!
Songlist: Tsubasa (wings), And So It Goes, Scarborough Fair, Brett, Where Is Love?, Black Is The Colour, Blowin' In The Wind, Eleanor Rigby, To Every Thing There Is A Season, Georgia On My Mind, Both Sides Now, Skye Boat Song
Sitting in Limbo
Review: A four piece mixed group from Australia, "The Idea of North" has compiled an eclectic mix of songs, performed and arranged in an accessible contemporary jazz style. About half are accompanied; the melody line on "My Funny Valentine" is played by a flugelhorn, and there is bass and percussion on several other songs (bassist Duncan Brown plays in the snappin' and poppin' style of the "Seinfeld" theme). "The 23rd Psalm" (arranged by McFerrin) and "Irish Blessing" reveals a traditional side, and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" has a gospel inflection and ragtime vocal horn solo. James Taylor's "Shed a Little Light" and "That Lonesome Road" are included, as is Harry Connick's "Trouble." This is a "crossover" record: it could qualify in either the contemporary or jazz categories. The second CD.has guest artists, James Morrison on Trombone on "Mas Que Nada," and "Fragile," the only two very lightly accompanied songs. This is an impressive, confident CD, reminiscent of the Real Group, and all the tunes are so beautifully arranged, selected and performed, it's hard to pick favorites - so we just sat back and enjoyed the sweet jazzy ride. The full color, beautifully photographed liner notes are a perfect complement to the music. Recommended!
Songlist: Sweet, Sweet Spirit , Fragile, Triste, Takes My Breath Away, Amazing Grace, Trouble , Shed A Little Light/The Gulf War Song, Sitting In Limbo, My Funny Valentine, The 23rd Psalm, You've Got What It Takes, That Lonesome Road, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, The Irish Blessing, My Foolish Heart, Straight To My Heart, It's Alright With Me, Mas Que Nada, Neat Surprise, Singin' A Cappella, Gotta Move On, Two Sides to the Story, Fragile, Abide With Me
Review: The ultimate Manhattan Transfer release! Here in this two CD collection are 30 of the fabulous vocal jazz quartet's best recordings spanning the 25 plus years they have been harmonizing together. All the greatest hits are here plus several of the group's personal favorite tracks. The release comes with a insert which includes photos and a history of the group. This is top-knotch four part vocal harmony!
Songlist: Tuxedo Junction, Java Jive, Candy, Gloria, Operator, Chanson D'Amour, The Speak Up Mambo, Four Brothers, Popsicle Toes, On A Little Street In Singapore, A Nightengale Sang In Berkeley Square, Until I Met You, Trickle Trickle, Twilight Zone, Bridland, Boy From New York City, Smile Again, Spice Of Life, Route 66, Mystery, Why Not! (Mahatten Carnival), Baby Come Back To Me (The Morse Code Of Love), Sing Joy Spring, Another Night In Tunesia, Soul Food To Go, So You Say, Stomp Of King Porter, Clouds, Nothing Could Be Hotter Than That, The Offbeat Of Avenues
Autumn In New York
Review: It doesn't get any better than this! After years of being available only on the box set here is a 2 CD release of all 33 a cappella recordings (not including Christmas) of quite probably the best vocal jazz group ever. The arrangements of Gene Puerling are simply exquisite and his ability to transform a song to completely new heights is astounding. We carry many thousands of a cappella CDs and this release is, in our opinion, the most essential CD for the collection of any serious fan of a cappella music!
Songlist: Both Sides Now , London By Night, Here There And Everywhere, Lullabye, Michelle, The Fool On The Hill, Emily, Since You Asked, More I Cannot Wish You, Try To Remember, Clair, Killing Me Softly With His Song, Yesterday, My Romance, Lost In The Stars, April In Paris, Girl Talk, Nature Boy, I Don't Know Where I Stand, Autumn In New York, Like Someone In Love, Indian Summer, Anything Goes, The Way We Were, One More Time Chuck Corea, Sweet Lorraine, Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair, Someone To Light Up My Life, Love Is Here To Stay, The Entertainer, All The Things You Are, Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child, I Wish You Love
Review: A collection of both live and studio recordings covering the quartet's early years and all their classic hits with 40 songs in all.
Songlist: Boy From New York City, Java Jive, Gloria, Helpless, Tuxedo Junction, Twilight Zone / Twilight Tone, Ray's Rockhouse, Mystery, Smile Again, Birdland, Four Brothers, Rambo, Meet Benny Bailey, Airegin, To You, Sing Joy Spring, Move, That's Killer Joe, The Duke Of Dubuque, Gloria, On The Boulevard, Shaker Song, Ray's Rockhouse, Birdland, Route 66, Jeannine, Malaise En Malaisie, Trickle Trickle, Boy From New York City, This Independence, Foreign Affair, Body And Soul, Blue Champagne, How High The Moon, Twilight Zone & Twilight Tone, Four Brothers, Operator, Spice Of Life, Tuxedo Junction
Review: Here's a great selection of classic Swingle Singers at an excellent price. Box set includes four otherwise out-of-print album releases including A Cappella Amadeus, Bach Hits Bach, 1812 and Around The World. A collection of top notch vocal jazz with those fabulous arrangements that define the "Swingle Sound".
Songlist: A Cappella Amadeus, Bach Hits Bach, 1812, Around the World
Review: Complete piano, voice, and guitar arrangements. The accompanying CD gives complete backing tracks which match the arrangements in the book.
Songlist: 'Round Midnight, A Foggy Day (In London Town), Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (from "Pal Joey"), Misty, Nice Work If You Can Get It (from "Damsel in Distress"), The Girl from Ipanema, Where or When (from "Babes in Arms")
Review: Here is a swing treatment of the contemporary pop standard most famously recorded in a big band swing style by Bobby Darin in 1959. Great for learning vocal jazz technique it will be a fantastic choice for younger or developing choirs. Available separately: 3-Part Mixed 2-Part VoiceTrax CD. Duration: ca. 2:00.
Songlist: Beyond The Sea
Review: What a great way to introduce the music of Bobby McFerrin to younger choirs. Winning the Grammy in 1989 this hit tune will bring a smile to everyone's face. Discovery Level 2. Available separately: 2-Part VoiceTrax CD. Duration: ca. 3:30.
Songlist: Don't Worry Be Happy
Review: Written by jazz great Dizzy Gillespie, this bebop standard makes a perfect introduction to the world of vocal jazz for younger choirs. Discovery Level 2. Available separately: 3-Part Mixed, 2-Part, VoiceTrax CD. Duration: ca. 2:40.
Songlist: He Beeped When He Shoulda Bopped
Review: It's America's favorite beverage. This great standard from the '40s regained the spotlight in the Manhattan Transfer version from 1975. This well-crafted Discovery Series arrangement will showcase your young singers at their swingin' best. Available separately: 3-Part Mixed 2-Part VoiceTrax CD. Duration: ca. 2:40.
Songlist: Java Jive
Review: Bohm bayo, wayo, bohm bye ah. Written for young singers, this joyful wordless original is an optimistic celebration of life! Easily learned, it will thrill your singers and listeners!Available separately: 3-Part Mixed and 2-Part. VoiceTrax CD also available. Performance Time: Approx. 2:10. Discovery Level 2.
Review: Your choir will love singin' the Blues with this fun and educational swingin' original. Learn about the Blues scale blue notes chords riffs and more. Available separately: 2-Part 3-Part Mixed and VoiceTrax CD. Performance Time: Approx. 1:30.
Songlist: Teach Me The Blues
Review: This classic tune from the 1930s makes a perfect introduction to vocal jazz for younger choirs! Great voice-leading makes every choir sound their best. Available separately: 3-Part Mixed, 2-Part and VoiceTrax CD. Performance Time: Approx. 2:20.
Songlist: Pennies From Heaven
Review: This arrangement really sizzles. The lively treatment of this Irving Berlin standard has lots of pizzazz and makes a great teaching piece as well. Discovery Level 2. Available separately: 3-Part Mixed 2-Part VoiceTrax CD. Duration: ca. 2:15.
Songlist: Steppin' Out With My Baby