Since All Is Passing
Formed at Southwestern Community College's School for Music Vocations in 1991, the mixed-voice sextet VoicesIowa was recently honored by Down Beat Magazine as "Vocal Jazz Group of the Year." Their repertoire also includes Renaissance part-songs, 19th and 20th century compositions and arrangements of contemporary music. Their Director Phil Mattson has been nominated twice for Grammy Awards. These 12 songs, recorded live at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, MN, feature Mattson-arranged winners like "Snow Covers the Valley," Bach's "Jesu, Meine Freude," Burt Bacharach's "Alfie," "Never Let Me Go," Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen's classic "Blues in the Night" and Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep." Ward Swingle's "Country Dances" and the Swingle-arranged "Satchmo," Duke Ellington's "Don't Mean A Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing," Anders Edenroth of the Real Group's "Friendship" and Bobby McFerrin's "Jubilee" are other favorites. Great stuff, from the first cut to the last!
Listen to Alfie in Real Audio
|7600 DVD $24.95|
|7600 CS $14.95|
Without A Song
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.
Listen to "Over The Rainbow" in RealAudio.
|4588 CD $14.98|
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 Beginni'g 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.
|4492 CD $14.98|
Here's To Life
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.
|1112 CD $14.98|
Since All is Passing
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
|1108 CD $14.98|
What A Wonderful World
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.
|1109 CD $14.95|
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