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Vocal Jazz Group Recordings

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 1-50 of 384 items.


5-Alone : Heavenly

Review: Fourteen-member, mixed High School vocal jazz ensemble 5-Alone was founded by Director Lechner in the fall of 1999. The group's performances of tight 5-part harmonies (hence the moniker 5-Alone) have since earned acclaim from some of the most prestigious names in jazz, including numerous Downbeat awards, top three placement in a Harmony Sweeps Regional (we assume they trimmed down to 7 members for that appearance), and performances at the International Association of Jazz Educators' annual conference and the North Sea Jazz Fest. Their 2003 CD "Good Vibrations" won a CARA for "Best High School Album." There are 11 tasty jazz cuts here, the Real Group's Anders Edenroth's "Thousand Things" (Anders also arranges "Body and Soul"), Harry Connick, Jr.'s "Heavenly," Brian Wilson's anthem "God Only Knows," "One Day I'll Fly Away," the upbeat, finger-snapping "I'm With You," very cool vocal percussion on "In The Waiting Line," the bluesy "Can't Stop Thinking 'Bout You," and the striking "Silence of Time" are particularly fine. A poised, impressive 2nd CD from this young, talented, well-directed, fast-rising ensemble!

Songlist: Thousand Things, Heavenly, David And Goliath, Body And Soul, Ridin' The Rails, God Only Knows, One Day I'll Fly Away, I'm With You, In The Waiting Line, Can't Stop Thinking 'bout You, Silence Of Time

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7473c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella || Mixed Voice Contemporary CDs


Acoustix : Jazz, Jazz, Jazz

Review: Rewarding loyal fans after years of anticipation, Acoustix presents a cache of songs guaranteed to please a wide variety of listeners. Their opening statement, the title tune "Jazz, Jazz, Jazz," is performed in homage to the greats of the era: Nat, Benny, Frank, and of course, the Four Freshmen, to whom Acoustix pay tribute throughout this album. This is not music for barbershop fans only, though the characteristic purity of the voices and seventh chords endemic to the genre are still very much in evidence. Indeed, five of the songs feature orchestral accompaniment in the big band style: "Jazz, Jazz, Jazz," "Day by Day," "Poinciana," "Graduation Day/It's a Blue World" and "Route 66." Guest vocalists Jim Clancy, Greg Clancy and Wendy Wilson DeCrow (of Vocal Majority) augment the much-anticipated Gene Puerling arrangement of "Unforgetable" (Jim and Greg) and "The Nearness of You." (Other arrangements on the CD were done by the renowned Greg Volk.) The closing medley of Simon and Garfunkel hits reveals yet another side of this amazing quartet's range and prowess.

Songlist: Jazz, Jazz, Jazz, Shine on Your Shoes/Steppin' Out with My Baby Medley, Day by Day, Answer Me, My Love, Straighten Up and Fly Right, Orange Colored Sky, The Nearness of You, Pionciana, Unforgettable, Graduation Day/It's a Blue World Medley, All the Way, Route 66, Simon & Garfunkel Montage

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5052c | 1 CD | $14.98 |


American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble : Milestones

Review: The nine-strong, mixed-voice American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble, under the able direction (and production) of Dr. Art LaPierre, brings us the kind of Jazz album that won the group multiple Downbeat magazine awards, including Best Jazz Vocal Group in 2003 and 2004, and solo Collegiate Female Jazz Vocalist awards for two members. Accompanied on most songs by piano, drums & percussion, bass, tenor sax and trumpet, the ARCVJE cooks throughout "Milestones," which refers to the winning new direction the American River College Vocal Jazz Program had taken 7 years before, under Dr. LaPierre. Our favorites among these 10 tunes are Paquito D'Rivera's "Snow Samba," a bluesy a cappella take on Richard Rodgers' "My Romance," Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Desafinado," Earle Hagen's noir, downbeat "Harlem Nocturne," Harry Edison's upbeat "Centerpiece" and Duke Ellington's hip, hot "Bli Blip." Great stuff, and especially amazing because these are all college students!

Songlist: Snow Samba, Walk Between Raindrops, Desafinado, My Romance, Milestones, Harlem Nocturne, Centerpiece, Bli Blip, Cecilia, Virou Areia

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6065c | 1 CD | $12.95 |


American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble : So Near So Far

Review: The American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble 2005 wows us with another impressive, mostly accompanied Jazz collection of 6 tunes, under the steady teaching and directing baton of Dr. Lapierre. The accompaniment, smooth and consistent, is from a Jazz ensemble of fellow American River College students. The songs are Airto Moreira, Flora Purim and Jose Neto's lively "Samba Do Cantor," Tony Crombie & Benny Green's breezy title tune, Rosana Eckert's bluesy, romantic "At the End of the Day," a driving, scattish, bluenote take on Stevie Wonder's hit "Go Home," Manning Sherman & Eric Maschwitz' lovely, classic, a cappella "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" and John Birks Gillespie & John Lewis' fast-moving, jazzy "Two Bass Hit." Again, the quality of the Vocal and instrumental jazz here is miles above what one would consider to be "Collegiate"-a fact recognized by awards from DownBeat Magazine to both the ARCVJE and to the talented Dr. Lapierre!

Songlist: Samba Do Cantor, So Near, So Far, At The End Of The Day, Go Home, A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square, Two Bass Hit

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6064c | 1 CD | $12.95 |


American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble : You're Making Me Crazy

Review: Another hot collection from Director Art Lapierre and his American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble, on this CD the 2006 version. The 6 tunes (most accompanied by an excellent student Jazz ensemble, drums, piano and synthesizer) are Rosana Eckert's Pop/Jazzy title tune, Tony Wiliams' mellow "Sister Cheryl," a slow, bluesy take on Bill Withers' Motown hit "Ain't No Sunshine," Art Farmer's scattish "Farmer's Market," Jimmy Van Heusen's delightfully harmonic, a cappella "Like Someone in Love," and Caprice Fox & Jon Werking's surreal, synthesizer-accompanied "Who Knows." Poised, perfect, in-character Jazz that makes it easy to forget that these are all Sacramento college students. Amazing! P.S., the liner notes list

Songlist: You're Makin' Me Crazy, Sister Cheryl, Farmer's Market, Like Someone In Love, Ain't No Sunshine, Who Knows

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6063c | 1 CD | $12.95 |


An Octave Above : An Octave Above out of print

Review: The 4 men and 4 women of An Octave Above, (named 1st runner-up at the 2005 Harmony Sweeps Chicago Regional) are a group of professional vocalists, together for only 3 years, whose repertoire includes doo-wop, jazz, standards and madrigals. This is the group's impressive debut CD of 13 songs, beginning with a jazzy, light "Chile Con Carne," a sweet Ward Swingle-arranged "All the Things You Are," and a ringingly harmonic cover of James Taylor's "That Lonesome Road." Doo-Wop classics "Come Go With Me" and "In the Still of the Night" segue nicely into Billy Joel's anthem "And So It Goes," a bluenote "There Will Never Be Another You" grows upbeat and scattish, "Tico Tico" puts a margarita in our hand and pulls us onto the dance floor, and finally we have Ward Swingle's sparkling arrangement of "Country Dances." Excellent stuff from this fast-rising Chicago octet, who we will be expecting to see at the '06 Sweeps Finals!

Songlist: Chili Con Carne, When I'm Sixty-Four, All the Things You Are, Come Go With Me, That Lonesome Road, I'm With You, In the Still of the Night, And So It Goes, There Will Never Be Another You, Scat Blues, Tico Tico, A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square, Country Dances

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4621c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella


Avante : Mackie's Back onsale

Review: The nine mixed-voice members of Avante put it right out there in the liner notes, next to the listing and credits for the 10 cuts on their new CD: "Mackie's Back is both a debut, and a tribute, to the towering vocal ensembles who have shaped who we are. From Gene Puerling, to Chanticleer, to The Manhattan Transfer, to The Swingle Singers, Avante's influences are clear." Founded in Raleigh, NC in 2010 with the objective of fusing Contemporary A Cappella with the art form of Vocal Jazz, the five men and four women singers of Avante's repertoire ranges from Contemporary Choral works to cutting edge jazz with a modern flair. Avante tours the United States, in concert, corporate venues and on college campuses, usually drawing high praise for its high standard of musicianship and unique arrangements. Two nationally regarded clinicians in the group join in the group's educational outreach, providing workshops to students of all ages. Our favorites among the 10 excellent cuts are an original, "What Kind of Band," by group member Kevin, who also arranged "Feeling Good," "Third Time Lucky," Billy Joel's "Always a Woman" and "When I Fall." Group member William arranged "When Sunny Gets Blue" and the manic jazz standard "Twisted;" we also particularly loved the Puerling-arranged "London By Night," E. Lloyd's "Cells, Planets" and Brecht and Weill's deathless, chilling ballad "Mack The Knife," to which the title lyric refers. There's a tremendous amount of vocal talent here--Avante has a confident, fresh sound, surprising arrangements and a love of creating beautiful harmonies that shows. An impressive debut album from fast-rising Avante!

Songlist: What Kind of Band, Feeling Good, When Sunny Gets Blue, Third Time Lucky, She's Always A Woman, When I Fall, Twisted, London By Night, Cells, Planets, Mack the Knife

More details22222c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


Banda De Boca : Banda De Boca out of print

Review: Four man, one woman Brazilian a cappella Jazz ensemble from Salvador da Bahia present their debut CD and lovely, full-color liner notes, all in Portuguese. Ditto with their website, but one of the things we love about a cappella is that the music speaks very eloquently for itself! There are 14 juicy, original tunes here, written and arranged (as far as we can tell) by talented Brazilian composer and musician Hiran Montiero. Banda uses only voices, has a sweet, sassy, funky-clean sound, and specializes in faux horns, guitar, bass and percussion. Listen to the drum lead on "Relampiono," the horn solo on "Chico Bento," and the sizzling percussion on the Salsa tune "Domingo No Parque" to get a taste of what this group can do. Other favorites are the moody "Muito Mais," finger-snapping "Cada Olhar," joyous "Palavra" and the percussion gem "Bilboque." Don't let the no-English issue keep you from enjoying one of the most cutting-edge, high-energy Vocal Jazz groups we've heard in a long time. Every cut is a winner!

Songlist: Relampiano, Cha de Cozinha, Samba da Esquina, Samba da Bahia, Chovendo na Roseira, Chico Bento, Domingo no Parque, Muito Mais, Construcao, Cada Olhar, Boi da Cara Preta, De Manha, Palavra, Bilboque

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7636c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella


Beachfront Property : Beachfront Property

Review: This nine-member ensemble has selected fourteen wonderful songs for their debut CD (about half are accompanied) featuring arrangements from Joe Finetti,Phil Mattson, Michele Weir and Gene Puerling. The first track, "The Flintstones Theme," complete with Fred's "Wilma" holler, wins over the listener immediately; "Blackbird," sung a cappella, is rendered as a sort of jazz hymn, fleshing out the progression with counterpoint and extending the phrases. "Embraceable You" becomes three dimensional, it's so depthful. "You Go To My Head" has become something of a signature tune for Beachfront: the richness and texture of the Singers Unlimited, without encumbering the essence of the song with unnecessary ornamentation. Terrific.

Songlist: The Flintstones' Theme, Blackbird, Hurry On Down, Embraceable You, Born To Be Blue, You Go To My Head, Ring-A-Ding-Ding, It Had To Be You, You Made Me Love You, The Summer Knows, My Kind Of Girl, Sophisticated Lady, I Remember You, Wave

More details4701c | 1 CD | $14.98 |


Beachfront Property : Straight Up

Review: If you enjoy listening to jazz presented by enough voices to be a chorus when that embellishes the arrangement, sung by singers so accomplished that you can follow each individual voice through complex vocal intertwining, you will love Beachfront Property. This group of southern California studio singers alternate accompanied and unaccompanied tunes which become jazz standards after they are through with them if they weren't before. One notable original is Vince Guaraldi's " Linus & Lucy" adapted for voices by Stan Castonogia and the group.

Songlist: Straighten Up & Fly Right, Tenor Madness, Besame Mucho, Linus & Lucy, Angel Eyes, Stompin' At The Savoy, Icarus, Pick Yourself Up, I Saw Her Standing There, Midnight Sun

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4702c | 1 CD | $14.98 |


Berlin Voices : States of Mind out of print

Review: Esther, Marc and Kristopher first sang together in the Vocal Section of Germany's Federal Jazz Orchestra in 1998 under the direction of Peter Herbolzheimer. By 2000 they met Sarah and began performing as a mixed vocal jazz quartet, from small jazz clubs to the largest concert halls in Germany; performing in the Munich Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the CCH1 in Hamburg and the Friedrichstadtpalast in Berlin. "States of Mind" is a mostly-accompanied, jazzy, fun collection of 11 Billy Joel hits like "Just the Way You Are," "Piano Man," a nice a cappella cover of "Honesty," "New York State of Mind," "James," "Allentown," "He's Got a Way," "Summer, Highland Falls," "And So it Goes" and "We Didn't Start the Fire." The Voices have a fresh, beautifully harmonic sound, and they perfectly capture the sophisticated, moody New York feel of Billy Joel's music. "States" is a wonderfully entertaining tribute to a remarkable composer and performer.

Songlist: Just The Way You Are, Piano Man, You're My Home, Honesty, New York State Of Mind, James, Allentown, He's Got A Way, Summer, Highland Falls, And So It Goes, We Didn't Start The Fire

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7666c | 1 CD | $16.95


Bobby McFerrin : Beyond Words

Review: Bobby, the a cappella legend, may have crossed the line into the land of accompaniment on "Beyond Words," but let us just say that there is accompaniment, and then there is Chick Corea on piano, with musicians of similar stature on bass, percussion, drums and guitar, and Bobby himself playing the Roland XP-80 synthesizer. Let us also say that Bobby McFerrin has heavily influenced (many would say personally created) the resurgence in a cappella music in the last two decades, and that that was no mistake or lucky break. He is an artist who pushes the vocal jazz envelope, and he's pushing it here. 16 songs that take Bobby's art - what he does better than anyone else - that is, use his voice as an incredibly multi-faceted instrument, to create sounds and moods that no one has ever created before. "Invocation," "Kalimba Suite," "A Silken Road" - each is a little masterpiece of vocal and instrumental improvisation, as beautiful and earth pastel-colored as the stunning liner notes. Listen and be in awe!

Songlist: Invocation, Kalimba Suite, A Silken Road, Fertile Field, Dervishes, Ziggurat, Sisters, Circlings, Chanson, Windows, Marlowe, Mass, Pat & Joe, Taylor Made, A Piece, A Chord, Monks / The Sheperd

More details4489c | 1 CD | $15.98 || Bobby McFerrin


Bobby McFerrin : Simple Pleasures : 1 CD : Bobby McFerrin : 48059

Listen to
Drive My Car

Bobby McFerrin : Simple Pleasures

Review: "Don't Worry, Be Happy" is the opening tune of a collection of multi tracked songs on which all the voices are Bobby McFerrin's. Five originals including the title track "Simple Pleasures" are interwoven with "Drive My Car" (Lennon/ McCartney), "Good Lovin'," "Susie Q," "Them Changes" (Buddy Miles) and Sunshine Of Your Love. Throughout this recording is the percussive chest thump which Bobby pioneered and really must be considered the origin of innovative vocal percussion which has become so important to contemporary a cappella.

Songlist: Don't Worry, Be Happy, All I Want, Drive My Car, Simple Pleasures, Good Lovin', Come To Me, Suzie Q, Drive, Them Changes, Sunshine Of Your Love

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4153c | 1 CD | $10.98 | A Cappella || Bobby McFerrin


Bobby McFerrin : Spontaneous Inventions

Review: How do you capture spontaneous creation? Blue Note's answer was to present the widest possible variety of performances on one CD in order to capture the sense of someone who is spontaneous in every performance. They succeeded admirably! Three originals, four solo interpretations of other composer's work, singing around the piano of Herbie Hancock, facing off with the soprano sax of Wayne Shorter, and a hysterical "Beverly Hills Blues" (improv with Robin Williams), are the contents but one. That one is "Another Night In Tunisia," sung with The Manhattan Transfer and Jon Hendricks. It's a must for any collection...

Songlist: Thinkin' About Your Body, Turtle Shoes, From Me To You, There Ya Go, Cara Mia, Another Night In Tunisia, Opportunity, Walkin', I Hear Music, Beverly Hills Blues, Manan Iguana

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4152c | 1 CD | $10.98 | A Cappella || Bobby McFerrin


Bobby Mcferrin : VOCAbularieS

Review: Ten-time Grammy Award winner/vocal innovator Bobby McFerrin surprises us yet again with VOCAbuLarieS, his first new release in eight years. Like his #1 worldwide hit song Don't Worry Be Happy and his multi-platinum duo album Hush with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, VOCAbuLarieS is based on Bobby's experiments with multi-track recording and his ceaseless exploration of the potential of the human voice. VOCAbuLarieS is Bobby McFerrin music for the 21st century. A collaboration with the composer/arranger/producer Roger Treece, VOCAbuLarieS features over fifty of the world's finest singers, recorded one at a time and in small groups to create a virtual choir made up of over 1,400 vocal tracks. Constructed as meticulously as a Mozart symphony or a Steely Dan album, intricately synthesized from countless stylistic elements, VOCAbuLarieS may be unlike any album anyone has ever recorded. Yet the music is always accessible, joyous, and inviting. VOCAbuLarieS celebrates Bobby's love of all musical genres, from classical to world music, R&B to gospel and beyond, building upon McFerrin's past explorations and journeying into bold new territory. If the song Don't Worry Be Happy is all you know about Bobby McFerrin, sit back and prepare to be amazed.

Songlist: Baby, Say Ladeo, Wailers, Messages, The Garden, He Ran To The Train, Brief Eternity

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2336c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella || Bobby McFerrin


BR6 : For All

Review: We have rained superlatives over one woman-five man Brazilian sextet's first two albums, "Here To Stay" and "Musica Popular Brazileira A Cappella," and we have been rewarded with their third, "BR6 For All." There are 12 perfectly recorded and mixed tunes here, our favorites (but only just barely) are the songs in English: Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours," which has the theme from "Mission Impossible" segueing in and out of it; the amazingly arranged "Beatles Medley," the Michael Jackson hit "Human Nature," Freddie Mercury's Queen standard "Play the Game" and Sting's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." Other faves are the Latin classic "Tico-Tico No Fuba," "Aquarela Do Brasil," "Libertango," "Samba de Verao" and "Lembrei Do Ceara." But make no mistake, every song here is a stone vocal and rhythmic treat. BR6 ranks right up there with elite groups like Rajaton and the Real Group, and "For All" is one of the best CDs of the year!

Songlist: Aquarela do Brasil, Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, Tico-Tico No Fuba, The Beatles Medley, Libertango, Brasil Pandeiro, Human Nature, Samba de Verao, Play The Game, Coracao Bobo, Every Little Thing She Does, Lembrei do Ceara

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22181c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


BR6 : Here To Stay : 1 CD : 

Listen to
Jazz'n'Samba

BR6 : Here To Stay

Review: We raved over five-man, one woman BR6's debut recording, "Rio A Cappella," and have been eagerly waiting for their second. First let us praise the marvelous, Beatles-flavored graphics and photos in the liner notes, some of the best we've ever seen, and a perfect complement to the smooth, latin sound the group applies to one of our all-time favorite tunes, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," medleyed with Tom Jobim's "Waters of March." Continuing with a cool "Jazz 'n' Samba," mellow and sweet "Someone to Watch Over Me," jazzy "Water to Drink," and sassy, sexy "They Can't Take That Away From Me" this is all pure enjoyment. Try to imagine faux, feline-sounding horns on "Girl from Ipanema," a surprising, bluenote faux trumpet solo on "Fascinating Rhythm," faux muted trumpets on a meandering "Forever Green," "They All Laughed," "Song of the Jet," "Love is Here to Stay ...this is all mellow, fun, jazzy, salsa-flavored stuff to be savored like musical fish tacos and margaritas on a perfect beach with the one you love!

Songlist: Waters Of March / Rhapsody In Blue, Jazz'n'Samba, Someone to Watch Over Me, Water To Drink, They Can't Take That Away From Me, The Girl From Impanema, Fascinating Rhythm, Forever Green, They All Laughed, Song Of The Jet, Love Is Here To Stay, Pato Preto

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7634c | 1 CD | $16.95 | A Cappella |


BR6 : Musica Popular Brasileira A Cappella

Review: Five man, one woman Brazilian quintet BR6 is back, and we are very, very happy to hear it! This impossibly smooth, talented, incredibly arranged a cappella group wowed us with their first album, "Rio A Cappella," then again with a stellar cover album, "Here To Stay." Now we hold in our hot little hands "Musica Popular Brasileira A Cappella Vol. II," (basically, a cappella covers of Brazilian Pop Music), with all the liner notes and song titles in Spanish, and we're sitting here with headphones on, just digging on all this sweet, sexy, salsa-flavored a cappella music! 12 songs, including one of our favorite Idea of North covers, "Mas Que Nada," a jazzy, vocal instrumental song called "Surfboard" that would make the Swingles proud, some silly, fairly wonderful faux horns on "Diexe a Manina," the haunting "Beijo Partido," the vocal percussion and faux horns Jazz gem "Nao Vou Ficar," the breezy, bluenote "Retrato da Vida" and "Eu Quero um Samba," which is impossible not to dance to! Every cut here is big fun, great jazzy stuff, and it didn't even cross our minds that we didn't understand the words. Don't miss this long-awaited collection from one of South America's best!

Songlist: Papagaio do Futuro/ Fe na Perua, Mas Que Nada, Tanta Saudade, Sou Voce, Bala com Bala, Surfboard, Deixe a Menina, Beijo Partido, Nao Vou Ficar, Casa, Retrato da Vida, Eu Quero um Samba

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6054c | 1 CD | $16.95 | A Cappella |


Chapter 6 : Color By Number

Review: These seven talented guys from Chicago, six vocalists and one arranger, started singing together at Illinois' Milliken University, where they won the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella in 2001. They were 3-time winners of the Chicago Harmony Sweeps Regional before finally being named National Champs in at the Finals in San Rafael, CA in 2004. Chapter 6 was also featured on American Idol Season 7 in conjunction with bandmate Luke Menard's "Top 16 run." Taking regular breaks from their extensive touring schedule to record, new release "Color by Numbers" is their 7th excellent album, in addition to a live DVD and a songbook. There are 14 recordings of fan favorites here, including the jazzy, scattish "Rainbow Connection" and manic, swingin' "Harold's House of Jazz," the very funny "Reverb" (sung to the tune of "Fever"), great faux horns and vocal percussion on "Interlude I (I Dream of Jeannie)," a breezy, sweet lead and new arrangement of Lennon/McCartney's "Penny Lane," a salsa-flavored arrangement of "Pure Imagination," a brilliant, funny Swingle Singers take on "James Bond Meets the Sugar Plum Fairy," a pair of short, yummy Interludes, "II (I'm Looking It Up Online)" and "III (Invention);" A bluenote, rainy-day jazz arrangement of "Let's Stay Together," a finger-popping original, "Left-Handers Unite!," a surprisingly hip arrangement of "Fairest Lord Jesus" and a lightly piano-accompanied vocal symphony of "Rhapsody in Blue" that is a soulful, harmonic tour de force!

Songlist: Intro, Rainbow Connection, Reverb, Harold's House of Jazz, I Dream of Jeannie, Penny Lane, Pure Imagination, James Bond Meets the Sugar Plum Fairy, I'm Looking It Up Online, Let's Stay Together, Left-Handers Unite!, Invention, Fairest Lord Jesus, Rhapsody in Blue

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2073c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


Clockwork : Every Voice Counts

Review: The Bay Area's own mixed-voice jazz ensemble Clockwork, late of some tremendous performances as a quintet at the 2004 and 2006 Harmony Sweeps Finals, placing 2nd and 3rd, respectively, is now a quartet featuring Angie Doctor, John Paddock and Dave Duran, adding Juliet Green of another beloved Bay Area jazz group, +4db. "Every Voice Counts" is produced by Trist Ethan Curless and The Bobs' Richard Bob Greene, and it is lightly accompanied by various jazz artists on guitar, bass, drums, steel pans, flute, sax, cello, violin and electric violin. 12 songs, with some of our Clockwork favorites like "Rhode Island Is Famous For You" and Radiohead's "Creep;" "I Carry You Around/Chameleon," Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Mercers "I Thought About You," Yusef Islam's "Where Do the Children Play," the moody "Pontchartrain," the very funny, scattish "My Attorney Bernie," Charlie Parkers "Anthropology" and the traditional spiritual "The Water is Wide." Great stuff, and one thing is certain, we will always love listening to talented, soulful, jazzy Clockwork!

Songlist: I Carry You Around/Chamelion, Rhode Island is Famous for You, The Goodbye Look, Creep, I Thought About You, Who's Blues (Whose Blues), Where Do The Children Play?, Pontchartrain, My Attorney Bernie, None of Us Are Free, Antropology, The Water Is Wide

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2335c | 1 CD | $14.95 |


Clockwork : Tesseract onsale

Review: Bay Area favorite, 4-man, 1-woman vocal jazz group Clockwork surprised a strong field with a win in the 2004 Bay Area Regional, then went on to place 2nd in the National Finals, making many friends and new fans along the way. "Teseract" is Clockwork's debut CD (on PAC Records), produced by The Bobs' Richard Bob Greene. There are 11 songs, all with cutting-edge arrangements, particularly by group member Stephen Saxon (also including Greene and group members Angie Doctor and Jim Hale). Herbie Hancock's sassy "And (So) What If I Don't," (There's some nice alto sax on this one, otherwise "Teseract" is all a cappella), a cool, jazzy "My Baby Just Cares For Me," Lennon/McCartney's classic "Blackbird" (with actual Red-winged Blackbird sounds), and a rainy-day bluesy "DC Farewell." "Donna Lee" segues perfectly from the laid-back "Back Home Indiana" to Charley Parker's scattish, driving jazz standard, Radiohead's "Creep" runs the gamut from quiet to crazed, and jazz standard "Rhode Island Is Famous For You" features a bright, upbeat lead by Doctor. Clockwork nails John Coltrane's frantic, driving "Moment's Notice," slowing down with perfect control for Richard Rogers' moody "Little Girl Blue," and then taking off on some very nice vocal riffs on "Variation #1 on (J. Williams') 'Nightwatch" and finishing up with the con man's anthem, a bluesy, appropriately smarmy original by Jim Hale, "Big Cash Deal." We loved Clockwork live, and "Teseract" is poised, confident proof of their readiness to join a cappella's vocal jazz elite!

Songlist: And (So) What If I Don't?, My Baby Just Cares For Me, Blackbird, D.C. Farewell, Donna Lee, Creep, Rhode Island Is Famous For You, Moment's Notice, Little Girl Blues, Variations #1 on "Nightwatch", Big Cash Deal

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2980c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


Cluster : Cement out of print

Review: Mixed-voice (3 men, 2 women) Italian a cappella jazz ensemble Cluster lets us know from the first sweetly dissonant, elegantly vocal percussioned notes of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" that we're in for a treat. Cluster's website is a delightful mystery, all in Italian, but all but one of the 13 tunes (the brooding "Blinker bla") is in English, even the title tune, an original by group tenor Nicola Nastos. Jazzy covers of American pop and R&B songs like Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are," a masterful arrangement of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds," Stevie Wonder's "Creepin'," the absolute finest arrangement of The Turtles' bubblegum hit "Happy Together" we've ever heard, and the Motown hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" are some favorites. Cluster are poised, confident risk-takers who are fast making their marks in the competitive European jazz/a cappella world. And "cement" is one of the best, most impressive debut CDs we've heard in years. Now it's time to put on the good headphones, pour a glass of the $20 Sauvignon Blanc, cue it up again and truly savor this masterpiece!

Songlist: Giant Steps, Cement, Have You Met Miss Jones, SOS, Just The Way You Are, Blinkar Bla, Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Alabama Song, Against All Odds, Happy Together, Nobody's Wife, Creepin', Ducktales Theme Song

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7621c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella


Cluster : Steps : 1 CD : 

Listen to
I Wish

Cluster : Steps out of print

Review: Five young Italians, three men and two women, students at the Niccolo Paganini Conservatory in Genoa, got together to form Cluster in 2004. They have been touring Europe and Italy ever since, showing off their unique sound, a combination of jazz, pop and fusion. The group does their own arrangements and released their excellent debut album "Cement," which got 3 CARA nominations, in 2006. They recorded 2 EPs in 2008 and 2009 that also received CARA nominations. The 14 tracks on "Steps" show just how far this incredibly talented quintet has come. They nail Trish Delany Brown and Michel Camilo's jazzy "Just Kidding" (which has some light piano), but all other tunes are a cappella, and include some wonderful faux instruments. A particular treat are the group-written originals, including Nicola Nastos' title tune, "Unthought" and "Fake," "Could It Be" by Luca, Eric and Liwen, "Simple Words" by Letizia and Liwen, and "224" by Erik with words by Emily Dickenson. Outstanding covers of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish," Antonio Carlos Jobim's "One Note Samba," Chick Corea and Neville Porter's "Spain," Freddie Mercury's "Love of My Life" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" fill out the songlist. There is some stunning electronic augmentation of vocal effects that make us wonder exactly what we're listening to, but the arrangements are so good, and the vocals so amazing, that we can only accept the statement on the back ("This is an a cappella recording, except for Colin Santosa's piano no instruments were used") as Gospel. "Steps" is filled with such a number of marvelous sounds and auditory treats that we intend to come back to it again with a pair of excellent headphones and savor it at our leisure. "Steps" is one of the best of the year!

Songlist: Just Kidding, Steps, Could It Be, One Note Samba, Simple Words, I Wish, Mi Sono Innamorato Di Te, Comecar De Novo (The Island), Fake, 224, Spain, Love Of My Life, Unthought, Hallelujah

More details5866c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella


Cool and Jazzy : A Cappella

Review: Founded in the summer of 1994 in Russia by Mark and Yuri Smirnovs, and influenced by Singers Unlimited, Take 6 and the New York Voices, the 3 man, 3 woman Cool & Jazzy has won international contests and festivals, including the Ward Swingle Award. The group sings live, dynamic and energetic music with their own arrangements in a wide assortment of languages. Their 4th CD, "A Cappella," features 11 songs, "Intro," "Bei mir bistu shein," "Katyusha," "Conte partiro," "Cheek to Cheek," "Brazasia," "Moscow," "Korobeiniki," "Ils aimment," "Hava Nagila," and, appropriately, "The End." We were thinking we had heard, for instance, "Cheek to Cheek," but never anything like this. These 6 brilliant singers take a song and make it their own. From Russia with Jazz!

Songlist: Intro, Bei Mir Bistu Shein, Katyusha, Conte Partiro, Cheek to Cheek, Brazasia, Moscow, Korobeiniki, Ils Aimment, Hava Nagila, The End

More details4509c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella |


Cuesta Voce : Timepieces

Review: Voce is San Luis Obispo, CA's Cuesta College's finest Vocal Jazz 9 mixed-voice ensemble, and "Timepieces" is recorded with a hot five-man student Jazz band. Formed in 1981, Voce has won an Outstanding Performance Award from DownBeat, first place at the 1998 Reno Jazz Festival and performances at Switzerland's prestigious Montreaux Jazz Festival. There are 10 cuts on this impressive second album (their first was 2007's excellent "Just One of Those Things"), some favorites among these sometimes accompanied pieces are Michel LeGrand's "I Will Wait for You," Anders Edenroth's a cappella "The Grass Grows Greener," the mellow "Something 'bout Believing," George & Ira Gershwin's classic "Summertime," Thad Jones' moody a cappella "Somna Mitt Barn," a sweet a cappella adaption of Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" and Imogen Heap's wonderfully harmonic a cappella "Hide and Seek." Voce has a beautiful sound, creative arrangements, and we loved "Timepieces!"

Songlist: I Will Wait For You, I've Got No Strings, The Grass Grows Greener, Something 'Bout Believing, Somna Mitt Barn, Jeannine, Summertime, Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy, Turn Your Love Around, Hide and Seek

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6089c | 1 CD | $14.95 |


Down 4 The Count : Down 4 The Count

Review: Vocal Jazz, with a Swing specialty, is the chosen medium of these 5 artists, two baritones and three sopranos. The group got their start at Cal State University Northridge in 2003, and "Down 4 The Count" is their debut CD. There are 11 songs, favorites are "Down For The Count," "No More Blues," the funny, manic "Whirlybird" with lyrics by group member Colleen Keene, the "Train Song," "Hernando's Hideaway," the poignant "It's Not Easy Being Green," "Blame It on My Youth," the dynamic "Shut Up," and Jimi Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic, with faux electric guitar and a very commendable Hendrix imitation. At times dissonant and moody, at times joyously powerful, "Down 4 The Count" is very good stuff, an impressive debut for this talented, attractive group!

Songlist: Down For The Count, No More Blues (Chega De Saudade), Til There Was You, Whirlybird, Train Song, Turn Out The Stars, Hernando's Hideaway, It's Not Easy Being Green, Blame It On My Youth, Shut Up, Crosstown Traffic

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2517c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


Encore! : Without A Song

Review: Mixed quintet (two men, three women) Encore! is acclaimed music educator/performer/arranger/director Kirby Shaw's baby, and is all those things for the group, which includes his wife, Markita, singing alto. 16 classic, somewhat incongruous songs: ("Their Hearts Were Full of Spring" segueways into "Sixteen Tons, for instance, and "Java Jive" into "The Rose"). But luckily, each song is a gem, for which Kirby's flawless arranging and directing is largely responsible. Other favorites: "Ain't Misbehavin'," "If Ever I Would Leave You," "Long Ago (And Far Away)," "The Boy From New York City," and "Without a Song." Kirby and company are having big fun here, and so are we!

Songlist: A Cappella, Ain't Misbehavin', Their Hearts Were Full of Spring, Sixteen Tons, If I Ever Would Leave You, Java Jive, The Rose, Shoo-fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy, Long Ago (And Far Away), The Boy from New York City, Johnny Has Gone for A Soldier, Rock Me in the Cradle of Love, Star Spangled Banner, Three Little Fishies, A Joyful Noise, Without A Song

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4522c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Glad : A Cappella Gershwin

Review: Glad began as a progressive Christian rock band in the early seventies. Rich complex arrangements and lush vocal melodies have been their trademark. Each of their early albums had one a cappella tune included. As an experiment, in 1988, they recorded the A Cappella Project which was received with such enthusiasm that they have been alternating instrumental accompaniment with a cappella albums ever since. Glad singing Gershwin is a total treat. All the standards are here "I've Got Rhythm," "The Girl I Love," "Someone To Watch Over Me" etc. To this reviewer "The Gershwin Medley" is nothing short of fabulous!

Songlist: I Got Rhythm, The Girl I Love, Our Love Is Here To Stay, Embraceable You, The Gershwin Medley, They All Laughed, A Foggy Day (In London Town), Little Jazz Bird, But Not For Me, They Can't Take That Away From Me, Someone To Watch Over Me

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4404c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella || George & Ira Gershwin


Gold Company : 30 : 1 CD : Steve Zegree : 

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In My Life

Gold Company : 30

Review: Gold Company is widely recognized as one of the leading collegiate and vocal jazz ensembles in the world, and "Thirty" celebrates thirty years under the direction of Dr. Stephen Zegree, the Bobby McFerrin Distinguished Professor of Jazz in the School of Music at Western Michigan University. The 15 to 16-member Gold Company performs 13 sublime jazz covers and a pair of originals, here with the very hot Gold Company Band. The originals are (founding member and arranger for The New York Voices) Darmon Meader's "And So Am I" and "Snow Samba," the Meader-arranged composition by Paquito D'Rivera and Claudio Rotiti. Other favorites are two different takes on Lennon and McCartney's "Got to Get You Into My Life," the Gene Puerling-arranged "Sweet Lorraine," Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed," "The Jungle Book's" "The Monkey Song," the moody "Autumn in New York," Duke Ellington's "Love You Madly," Cole Porter's "So In Love" from "Kiss Me Kate" and Tamra Gray's lovely "Raindrops Will Fall." We repeat the caveat that this is an all-accompanied recording. That said, this is wonderful jazz, far beyond what one might expect from collegiate musicians!

Songlist: Got to Get You Into My Life, The Very Thought Of You, And So Am I, Sweet Lorraine, Overjoyed, My Love For You, The Monkey Song, Autumn In New York, Love You Madly, Let Your Love, So In Love, Snow Samba, In My Life, Raindrops will Fall, Got to Get You Into My Life

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3093c | 1 CD | $14.95 |


Gold Company : Who Could Ask For Anything More

Review: Dr. Stephen Zegree, concert pianist, educator and one of the most respected Vocal Jazz conductors on the planet, directs two 16-mixed voices permutations of Western Michigan's Gold Company, plus the Gold Company Band, essentially a 21-member Jazz orchestra in this 15-song, mostly-accompanied collection. Guest conductor Duane Shields Davis also directs a version of Gold Company and the Band here, as well as doing the dynamic arrangements for Rodgers & Hart's "This Can't Be Love" and Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye." Other favorites are the George Gershwin standard "I Got Rhythm, a scattish, salsa take on Caesar & Youman's "Tea for Two," a pair of originals written and arranged by student Tenor Mark Jackson, "Pure Gold," "We're Here for You" and "Go For The Gold;" Gillies & Foster's power ballad "Stand Up for Love," the a cappella version of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee," arranged, of course by Ward Swingle, Bobby McFerrin's sublime a cappella "In The Garden," and the Glenn Miller Classic that bears the name of the home of Western Michigan, "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo." Dr. Zegree has led Gold Company in winning a fistful of DownBeat Magazine awards and a reputation as one of the most respected Collegiate Vocal Bands in the world. Every one of these cuts is as hot, or cool, as we like it, and we're sure you'll also love "Who could ask for anything more!"

Songlist: I Got Rhythm, This Can't Be Love, Tea For Two, Pure Gold, Prisoner Of Love, In The Stone, Stand Up For Love, Flight Of The Bumble Bee, We're Here For You, Quiet Night Of Quiet Stars, Go For The Gold, Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye, The Garden, I Believe, I've Got a Gal In Kalamazoo

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6104c | 1 CD | $9.95 |


Groove For Thought : Groove For Thought out of print

Review: All male Pacific Northwest sextet Groove for Thought's debut CD is here, not surprisingly titled "Groove for Thought." We last saw GFT at the 2005 Harmony Sweeps Finals, where they won both the Best Original Song award for group member Kevin Kunz' "Walk the Straighter Road" and the National Championship. "Groove" is an excellent, jazzy, beautifully arranged album, but we need to warn a cappella purists that there is a lot of accompaniment with these 14 songs. Our favorites are the two pure a cappella tunes, Kevin's wonderful arrangement of "Joy to the World," and Billy Joel's "And So It Goes." We also once again enjoyed "Walk the Straighter Road," which has some light piano accompaniment. Kevin's hot, jazzy originals "Lay It Back," "A Better Place," "Gotta Lotta Lemons," "My Perfect Day," all accompanied, are also very good; as is Chick Corea's "La Fiesta." The Kelly Kunz-arranged hymn "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" completes our favorites. GFT has some of the best original writing and arranging we've heard and a clean, pure sound that needs no accompaniment of any kind to blow us away!.

Songlist: Intro (Lay It Back), Lay It Back, A Better Place, Joy To The World, And So It Goes, Interlude 1, Gotta Lotta Lemons, My Perfect Day, Lean On Me, Take My Hand, Precious Lord, Interlude 2, La Fiesta, Intro (Walk The Straighter Road), Walk The Straighter Road

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7501c | 1 CD | $14.98


Groove For Thought : Inspired out of print

Review: We were first blown away by Seattle's 7-voice (6 men, 1 woman) Groove for Thought when they stepped onto the stage at the Harmony Sweeps 2005 National Finals, where they won "Best Original Song" and the National Championship. Their amazing arrangements, hot leads, and an infectious, unique blend of jazz and R&B left little doubt in our minds and the judges' who was the best group on stage. The second time was in 2010 on NBC's The Sing-Off, when this talented group survived three intense rounds of tough competition with great performances, gaining millions of fans and joining an elite group-the best performing a cappella ensembles on the planet! "Inspired" is a tour de force collection of 11 cuts that only underline that perception, and is certainly one of our early favorites for best jazz album of the year (although we'd also listen to arguments that it's the best R&B album of the year!) Some favorites are a cappella winners, Michael Jackson's "Human Nature," Ray Charles' hit "Hallelujah, I Love Her So," a sublime arrangement of Lennon/McCartney's "Got to Get You Into My Life" and Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors." Accompanied favorites are EWF's "Shining Star," Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" segued into Wilson Pickett's "Knock on Wood," Pickett's "Midnight Hour," Cyndi Lauper's "Who Let in the Rain," and Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet it Is." More accompaniment than we were expecting, but very cut is a gem here-don't miss "Inspired," a powerful album by one of America's best!

Songlist: Shining Star, Human Nature, Hallelujah I Love Her So, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours / Knock on Wood, Got to Get You Into My Life, Straight to My Heart, In the Midnight Hour, Who Let In the Rain, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You), True Colors

More details2084c | 1 CD | $14.95


High Five : Moondance out of print

Review: "Moondance" is the debut CD for New York mixed-voice jazz quintet High Five, who are no strangers to the Harmony Sweepstakes, placing second to Vox Bop in 2004's very competitive New York Regional. 13 crisply arranged jazz tunes lend themselves well to High Five's fresh, clean sound, some favorites: "Moondance/Fever Medley," "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," "One Note Samba," the upbeat "Let's Get Away From It All," a sweet, doo-woppy "Up on the Roof," "Walking Down the Street," the salsa-flavored "Mais Que Nada," a bluenote "Whistling in the Dark" a finger-snapping "One for My Baby" and a surprising arrangement of "Brahms Lullaby." There is bigtime talent here, from the singers and arrangements to the exquisite design of the liner notes. An impressive debut from High Five, who we will be expecting to see onstage at a Harmony Sweeps Finals before too long!

Songlist: Moondance + Fever Medley, I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face, Scotch + Soda, One Note Samba, My funny valentine, Let's get Away From It All, Up On The Roof, Walking Down the Street, What Can You Loseq, Mais Que Nada, Whitling in the Dark, One for my Baby, Brahms Lullaby

More details4609c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella


Hudson Shad : Hooked Again

Review: The canon of the Comedian Harmonists is recreated by the American Hudson Shad, who on this entertaining and historically compelling CD sing both in English and German, to capture the essence of their inspiration. Accompanied by piano, the Harmonists sound is one part jazz and one part music hall, as on Ellington's "It Don't Mean A Thing," where vocal bass and piano pump out a furious twenties rhythm, augmented by scat and and a vigorous horn solo. "Whistle While You Work" is a masterpiece of vocal orchestration, not to mention whistling, and when the Shad assume the personas of the Dwarfs-well, you just have to buy this record to hear it! The traditional "Die Dorfmusik" has a racuous yodeling motif over a swaying 3/4.

Songlist: Wochenend Und Sonnenschein, (Happy Days Are Here Again), Blue River, Mein Kleiner Gruner Kaktus, Four Leaf Clover, It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Veronika, Der Lenz Ist Da, Liebesleid, Whistle While You Work, I Had A Dream, Die Dorfmusik, Stormy Weather, Georgia, Guitarren Spielt Auf, Standchen, Gloriana, Der Alte Cowboy (The Last Round-up)

More details6339c | 1 CD | $15.98 |


Hudson Shad : Music Box

Review: The Chicago-based Hudson Shad initially attracted attention for the their immaculate re-creations of scores by the German Comedian Harmonists. Their five voices, and piano (the same composition as that of the Harmonists), have now diversified, to include equally charming and delightful songs such as Gershwin's "Strike Up The Band" and several Weill numbers, including "September Song" and "It Never Was You." Amusing novelties, like "Ali Baba," rely frequently on vocalese for effect; "Four Leaf Clover" is an anecdote from the turn-of-the-century music hall. The Beatles' "Julia" lends itself willingly to Hudson Shad's gorgeous interpretation. Incorporating elements of jazz, classical and an inchoate form of what was soon to become popular music, "Music Box" is a sentimental and beautiful record.

Songlist: Mack The Knife, Die Forelle, Nagasaki, Whispering, Julia, Economics, Four Leaf Clover, Ali Baba, Susan's Dream, In Einem Kuhlen Grunde, It Never Was, The Flowerpot, Speak Low, Strike Up The Band, September Song, Lebe Wohl

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5426c | 1 CD | $15.98 |


Hudson Shad : Sing Something Simple

Review: The vocal style on "Sing Something Simple"will ring some bells with anyone who has seen the first "talkies,"sound-tracked movies or cartoons from the Roaring Twenties. This silly, sometimes manic jazzy music from the era of the Flapper went especially well with the new cartoons made popular by Walt Disney and Max Fleischer (creator of Betty Boop). The six male members of Hudson Shad owe a particular debt of gratitude to the American group, The Revelers, and the German group, The Comedian Harmonists. In fact 7 of the 9 songs on "SSS"that were penned in the 20s and 30s were originally recorded by these two groups. The other 7 titles, "Lonely House,""Lonesome Town,""Day-O,""16 Tons,"Civil War lament "Tenting Tonight,""I'm Going Home"and "Wiegenlied"share a bluesy, endless workday theme and/or feeling. Yet however "down"the message, the tempo and optimistic outlook on life remain upbeat. The elements of HS's timeless pop are catchy words, infectious melody, realism, and humor (with light piano accompaniment).

Songlist: Sing Something Simple, Jollity Farm, I'm Yours, Stardust, That's My Weakness Now, Lonlely House, Happy Feet, Lonesome, Glad Rag Doll, Day-O, Sixteen Tons, So Blue, Tenting Tonight, Show Me the Way to Go Home, I'm Goin' Home, Wegenlied

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4499c | 1 CD | $15.98 |


Hudson Shad : Spawn Song

Review: Hudson Shad is an American group that was inspired by the German Comedian Harmonists, who were formed in Berlin, 1927. The First World War over, the cabaret tradition flourishes and the city is a locus of developing talent. The Comedian Harmonists performs until 1935, when, due to persecution of the three Jewish members under the Nazi Party, they are forced to disband. Hudson Shad's poignant "Liebeslied," sung in German, is all that much more evocative, its sentiment in horrible contrast to the terrible events to follow. The traditional "Callin' My Children Home" showcases the group's close harmonies and tight blend, "My Little Green Cactus" is a naughty paean to something other than succulents, if we know anything at all!

Songlist: Wie War's Mal Mit Lissaben?, Callin' My Children Home, My Little Green Cactus, Stormy Weather, Whispering, Liebesleid, Night and Day, Camp Meeting, Creole Love Call, Baby, Wedding Of The Painted Doll, Tea For Two, A Little Spring Melody, Uncle Bumba, Auf Wiederseh'n

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6338c | 1 CD | $15.98 |


Hudson Shad : Wand'rin' Stars

Review: The six very talented men from Chicago who call themselves Hudson Shad have recreated themselves in the mold of the 1927 German group, the Comedian Harmonists, and "Wand'rin' Stars" is their 5th CD. Lightly accompanied by piano on all songs, we hardy notice because of the quality and personality of the singing. In love with the jazzy, funny, manic musical style of the roaring 20s, the Shad men could hardly fail to notice Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Western Swing and the novelty "Cowboy Songs" of that period. This CD has 17 wonderful Cowboy pop songs, from "Whoopie Ti Yi Yo," "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds" and "Home on the Range" to more recent ones like "Rawhide," "Do Not Forsake Me," "Flowers on the Wall," "Cool Water" and "Baghdad Cafe." "Mad Cow Boogie" is a funny parody featuring a very proper British "cowboy," "My Old Ioway Home" a nostalgic anthem, a foot-stomping, tongue-in-cheek "Ghost Riders" and "Back in the Saddle" with a verse in perfect German--the whole CD is an entertaining, funny treat!

Songlist: Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Tumblin' Tumbleweeds, The Big Rock Candy Mountain, Home on the Range, Rawhide, Do Not Forsake Me, Mad Cow Boogie, Dogies Lullaby, My Old Ioway Home, Baghdad Cafe, Ghost Riders, Cool Water, Back in the Saddle, Yellow Rose of Texas, Flowers on the Wall, The Last Round Up, Wand'rin' Star

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4517c | 1 CD | $15.98 |


Idea of North : Extraordinary Tale out of print

Review: "Extraordinary Tale" is a marvelously packaged CD that underscores why we love CDs over downloaded mp3s or such. The jewel case folds out to 6 panels, which are all decorated with moody, lowbrow children's book illustrations of mechanical birds, patchwork metal whales, and the group as children in a red-striped boat on a curly-cued sea. Inside a slot is a folded treasure map, where we see an old victrola, spouting fishes, the mechanical birds are singing, and the whale spouts a microphone-a metaphor on the group's experience as the top a cappella group in Australia, perhaps? The different islands on the map have the names of the 13 songs on them, plus the running times. On the flipside of that are the names of the singers, Sally, Naomi, Nick and Andrew, plus the welcome disclaimer: "This is an a cappella recording. All the sounds on this album were produced by the voices and/or bodies of the ION." For those not familiar with mixed Vocal Jazz quartet ION, they blew in from Down Under and won the 2003 Harmony Sweeps, and we joined everyone in the sold-out audience in becoming their fans for life. Our favorites among the 13 cuts? Their bluesy, scattish take on Chick Corea's "Armando's Rhumba," an understated, deliciously melodic, jazzy hit on the Swing tune "Don't Wait Too Long," a heartbreakingly fine soprano lead and background harmonics on Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," Sting's "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets" riffs into an unbelievable lovely scat tapestry; Lennon and McCartney's "In My Life" fits perfectly into the poignant mood. Group member Andrew Piper gives us a rare, wonderful original, "One Minute More," Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean A Thing" has a vocal muted trumpet and a vocal percussion solo that you should hear; Ray Charles' "Hallelujah I Love Her So," Stevie Wonder's "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer," Sinead O'Connor's "In This Heart," Aretha Franklin's "Since You've Been Gone" and Peter Allen's "I Still Call Australia Home" are all amazing but this review has gotten absurdly long. Treat yourself to "Extraordinary Tale," and thank us later!

Songlist: Armando's Rhumba, Don't Wait Too Long, Both Sides Now, La Belle Dame Sans Regret, In My Life, One Minute More, It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Hallelujah I Love Her So, Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer, Give Me The Simple Life, In This Heart, Since You've Been Gone, I Still Call Australia Home

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2677c | 1 CD | $19.95 | A Cappella


Inner Voices : Prairie Jazz onsale

Review: Manhattan Transfer meets the Sons Of The Pioneers!! The incomparable Morgan Ames had produced, arranged and recorded the selections which she describes as "a group of a cappella cowboy and mountain songs based on pure historical American, plus a few strays, filtered through my jazz-based sense of harmony and four city singers." She goes on to add... "I grew up looking for home on the range, pretending to be Annie Oakley on rented horses at the Burbank Stables. But singing this music, our shared American heritage, was a gift and that's how we offer it to you." Now, all isn't just tradition as occasionally a new lyic or two is added, but the singers Shelby Flint, Morgan, Melissa Mackay and Michael Mishaw manage to maintain a sensibility of tradition while creating an entirely new feel, exactly as Morgan describes in her quoted comments above. Real traditional tunes such as "Home on the Range," "Old Diamond Joe," (a multi-track overdubbed recording sung entirely by Michael) and "Old Chisholm Trail" are mixed in with a leavening of newer tunes such as "Witchi Tai To," "My Real Home," and "Springtime in the Rockies." The only difficulty we face in reviewing a recording of this calibre is expressing our enthusiasm without going overboard!

Songlist: Old Chisholm Trail, Witch Tai To, Goodbye Old Paint, The Cuckoo, Tumblin' Tumbleweeds, My Real Home, Old Diamond Joe, Where Am I Going, Home On The Range, There's A Star On The Horizon, Springtime In The Rockies, Unused To Lovers, Cielito Lindo, The Water Is Wide/Oh Winding River, I Wonder As I Wander

More details2750c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


JaLaLa : Old Mercer Magic! out of print

Review: Janis Siegel, Laurel Masse and Lauren Kinhan share more than their intense passion for passionate sounds that resonate with the listeners of their respective groups, The Manhattan Transfer and The New York Voices. The three pop vocalists share admiration for the late Johnny Mercer, one of the true American songwriters and poets. Thus, their collaborative effort, "That Old Mercer Magic," a fascinating and highly rewarding recording that showcase both the collective talents of these top notch singers and one of the great songwriters of the age. You will listen to this recording for ever!

Songlist: Spring, Spring, Spring, You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby, Jeepers Creepers, My Shining Hour, Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive, Dream, I'm Old Fashioned, Riding On The Moon, Moon River/Moon Country, Have You Got Any Castles Baby?, Too Marvelous For Words, The Dance Of Life

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2915c | 1 CD | $14.95


Just 4 Kicks : All In Good Time onsale

Review: The four players in Just 4 Kicks are only four of the most respected (and frequently employed) arrangers and educators in the music industry. Their talent is only surpassed by their prodigious accomplishments, the results of which are ours to appreciate. Obviously influenced by the brilliant vocal jazz groups of the '50's and '60's, most notably the Four Freshmen and Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, "All In Good Time" is adventurous and exuberant. Billy Strayhorn's comically ironic "Everything But You" is one of the great swing tunes in the lexicon, and Just 4 Kicks stands in for an entire jazz combo, tossing off brass solos and a drum breakdown. The arrangement of "Alice In Wonderland" frequently voices the harmony, including the enticing ninth chords, by implying the root, rather than stating it overtly. "I'm Walkin'," popularized by "Fats" Domino and arranged here by Kirby Shaw, retains the boogie-woogie party mood of the original and kicks it up a notch - now that's impressive. Many of the songs feature furious scatting, all done live. Don Shelton of the Hi-Lo's guests on "Green Dolphin Street," and the Bobs' Joe Finetti stops by to supply vocal percussion on Stevie Wonder's "Superstition."

Songlist: I'm Walkin', Everything But You, Alice In Wonderland, Black Orpheus, On Green Dolphin Street, Her Bright Smile, Poppity-Pop, All Blues, Superstition, Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye, Blizzard Of Lies, Take the 'A' Train, A Quiet Place

More details6255c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


Just 4 Kicks : Joyful Noise out of print

Review: Talented, highly-respected music industry educators and arrangers Kirby Shaw, Randy Crenshaw, Kirk Marcy and Vijay Singh were asked by a dear friend, the minister of music at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Salem, OR, if Just 4 Kicks would perform at an upcoming concert and service at St. Paul's. His parameters were simple: "It needs to be all sacred music, but it needs to be Just 4 Kicks!" The group decided to accept the opportunity as a chance for rejuvenation that it needed, and immediately the creative juices started flowing within the quartet. The event was a huge success, and soon the group found itself in the studio, recording a fresh new book of tunes. We can see from the song list, there's a lot of diversity in these 11 tunes, from the jazzy "Sermonette," scattish "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and "Come Sunday," to a Reggae-flavored, manic "Jesus Loves Me;" to a couple of Bob Dylan tunes, the bluesy "Gotta Serve Somebody" and the Reggae-arranged "Man Gave Names To All The Animals," there's lots of fun stuff here. Other favorites are a hip, finger-popping "Daniel in the Lion's Den," bluenote "A Child is Born," a foot-tapping Bluegrass take on "Walk On" and a hauntingly harmonic "A Quiet Place." We've always loved Just 4 Kicks, and we love this album-it's a great new direction for these talented men, and we look forward to hearing more inspirational, upbeat material like "Joyful Noise" from them!

Songlist: Sermonette, Gotta Serve Somebody, Jesus Loves Me, Come Thou, Almighty King, Jesus Loves the Little Children, Come Sunday, Man Gave Names to all the Animals, Daniel In the Lion's Den, A Child is Born, Walk On, A Quiet Place

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5975c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella


Just 4 Kicks : Kick In The Pants : 1 CD : 

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Wonderlicks

Just 4 Kicks : Kick In The Pants

Review: Put Randy Crenshaw, Kirby Shaw, Kirk Marcy and Vijay Singh in a recording studio, add guest Joe "Beat Box" Finetti on oh-so-funky vocal percussion, and you've got the kind of down-and-dirty jazz recording that bobbed Grandma's hair! This is bluesy, scat-singing, wide-open, fun jazz that does nothing but add to our Summit-gained admiration for this quartet and for the members individually. 12 cuts, some of our favorites: "Tone Whole," "Never Make Your Move Too Soon," "Oo-Shoo-Be-Do-Be," "Wonderlicks," an homage to 10 Stevie Wonder classics, "Failure to Swing," "What's a Guy Supposed To Do?," the very funny Scottish takeoff, "Donald, Where's Your Trousers?" "Indiana" and the spiritual "Deep River." "Pants" is well-named, a powerful, funny, surprising and impressive kick!

Songlist: Tone-Whole, Never Make Your Move Too Soon, Oo-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be, Wonderlicks, A Night In Tunisia, I Get the Neck of the Chicken, Failure to Swing, The Rose, What's A Guy Supposed To Do?, Donald, Where Are Your Trousers?, Indiana, Deep River

More details6260c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


L.A. Jazz Choir : From All Sides

Review: The 25 women ("The Girls" in the liner notes), and 20 "Boys" in the LA Jazz Choir, directed by Gerald Eskelin is a smorgasbord of tempting jazz treats. There are liberal helpings of straight-ahead big-band meat-and-potato hits ("Tuxedo Junction," "Love Is A Joy," "The Jersey Bounce); entrees with a light latin dressing ("I Could Write A Book," "Dream On," "What Is This Thing Called Love"); more exotic tastes ("Sboguvane," "Don's Song"); something light (Jim, Jam, Jump, Sweet Georgia Brown); something with a little scat ("Jumpin' With Symphony Sid," "Everybody's Boppin'") and cool with a velvety sauce ("Blue In Green"). "from all sides" is a saucy, spirited joy from one of the best Jazz choirs in the world! All accompanied, from a small jazz ensemble to a full big band.

Songlist: Everybody's Boppin' , What Is This Thing Called Love?, Don's Song , Tuxedo Junction , I Could Write A Book In Time , The Jersey Bounce , Jim, Jam, Jump , Blue In Green , Love Is A Joy , Dream On , Sboguvane (Farewell) , Sweet Georgia Brown , Jumpin' With Symphony Sid

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4720c | 1 CD | $12.98 |


Lambert, Hendricks and Ross : Everybody's Boppin' : 1 CD :  : 886972469225 : 4A724692

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Cloudburst

Lambert, Hendricks and Ross : Everybody's Boppin' out of print

Review: To listen to this trio reveals what a great influence this group has been on so many artists, in terms of choice of material and style. The most sophisticated and hip vocal treatments - Hendricks was a foremost developer of the vocalese technique - they change moods on a dime and are impossible to predict. Ross takes the lead on "Midnight Indigo," a sultry trickle of sweat on the back of the neck. "Moanin'" mixes up roadhouse blues with the sweetest of refrains. "Summertime" is just on the inside of a discordant wail, an eerie lament. Also included: "Cloudburst" and "Centerpiece."

Songlist: Charleston Alley, Moanin', Twisted, Bijou, Cloudburst, Centerpiece, Gimme That WIne, Stemonette, Summertime, Everbody's Boppin', Home Cookin', Blue, Come On Home, Cottontail, Midnight Indigo

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4254c | 1 CD | $11.95


Lambert, Hendricks and Ross : Sing a Song of Basie

Review: The first album that launched their career, the trio of Jon Hendricks, Dave Lambert and the English Annie Ross pioneered the use of voices patterned on instrumental parts. The daring of this group creates a giddy excitement, which can be heard on tracks such as "It's Sand, Man," whereby the three voices (accompanied by piano, bass and drums) gain altitude in a series of ascending patterns that thrill the senses. Though Ross in particular possesses a fine voice, the attraction is not in the prettiness of the sound as much as the interplay of the voices, and the utter originality of their interpretations. Every song is enchanting.

Songlist: Everyday, It's Sand, Man!, Two For the Blues, One O'Clock Jump, Little Pony, Down for Double, Fiesta in Blue, Down for the Count, Blues Backstage, Avenue C, Four Brothers, Cloudburst, Standin' On The Corner

More details4256c | 1 CD | $14.95 || Mixed Vintage CDs


Lambert, Hendricks and Ross : The Hottest New Group In Jazz : 1 CD :  : 07464649332-8 : C2K64933

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Moanin'

Lambert, Hendricks and Ross : The Hottest New Group In Jazz

Review: Of course, Lambert Hendricks and Ross are no longer new, though they were the epitome of cool jazz in the 1950's. This re-issued double CD set contains a career retrospective - 39 songs worth, though not everything that was on the (unfortunately) discontinued "Twisted" CD - and is a fabulous value. The three personalities of Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks and the British Annie Ross complimented and balanced each other uniquely, pushing the jazz envelope, while always retaining their warmth and sensuality. Accompanied by a rhythm combo, and sometimes horns, songs such as "Caravan," "Moanin'" and "Centerpiece" are just as vital now as they ever were. Highly recommended.

Songlist: Disc 1:, Charleston Alley, Moanin', Twisted, Bijou, Cloudburst, Canterpiece, Gimme That Wine, Sermonette, Mummertime, Everybody's Boppin', Disc 2:, Cottontail, All Too Soon, Happy Anatomy, Rocks in my Bed, Main Stem, I Don't Know What Kind of Blues I've Got, Things Ain't What They Used to Be, Midnight Indigo, What Am I Here For?, In a Mellow Tone, Caravan, Disc 3:, Come On Home, The New A B C, Farmer's Market, Cookin' at the Continental, With Malice Toward Nono, Hi-Fly, and more

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6263c | 1 CD | $24.95 || Mixed Vintage CDs


Lennon Sisters : Let's Get Acquanted

Review: From 1955 - 1968, The Lennon Sisters appeared regularly on The Lawrence Welk TV Show and became a household name. The quartet charmed audiences of all ages and their first hit, "Tonight You Belong to Me" reached #15 on the charts in 1956. On this CD are their first two albums, LET'S GET ACQUAINTED and LAWRENCE WELK PRESENTS THE LENNON SISTERS including the hit single TONIGHT YOU BELONG TO ME.

Songlist: Dear One, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo, Graduation Dance, To Know You Is to Love You, Too Marvelous for Words, Mister Clarinet Man, How Will I Know My Love', You Always Hurt the One You Love, I Remember Mama, Greensleeves, Scarlet Ribbons, Have You Ever Been Lonely, Let's Get Acquainted, Little White Lies, Young and in Love, Teenage Waltz, Pocahontas, White Silver Sands, When I'm with You, One Day a Little Girl, Walk with Me, If I Don't Love You, Shake Me I Rattle, Goodnight God, Tonight You Belong to Me, Allegheny Moon, Hi! to You, Mickey Mouse Mambo, Did-Ja Know, What a Sky

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4043c | 1 CD | $13.95 |


Lennon Sisters : Sing Great Hits & Sad Movies

Review: 28 songs, re-mastered and in stereo, performed by the four lovely Lennon sisters from California who made regular appearances on the Lawrence Welk TV show from 1955 to 1967.

Songlist: Among My Souvenirs, You Are My Sunshine, Now Is the Hour, A Little Street Where Old Friends Meet, Sad Movies (Make Me Cry), We Live In Two Different Worlds, Waltz of the Wind, Roly Poly, No One Will Ever Know, It's a Sin, Kaw-Liga, Mississippi Mud, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, Afraid, Foggy River, I'll Never Stand In Your Way, Pins and Needles (In My Heart), Moon River, (How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window, I Understand (Just How You Feel), Michael, Repeat After Me, Forever and Ever, Mexicali Rose, Harbor Lights, Melody of Love, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Choir of Angels

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22242c | 1 CD | $15.95 |

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