January 22, 2009

Gold Company - Thirty

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." That said, this is wonderful jazz, far beyond what one might expect from collegiate musicians! 3093 CD 14.95
Listen to "In My Life

Posted by acapnews at 12:03 AM

King's Herald - Anthology Vol 2

The heritage of the ministry of the Thousand-Oaks, CA-based male Gospel quartet King's Heralds goes back to four young college students who came together to sing in Keene, Texas in 1927, and continues today for the present King's Heralds, the oldest continuous Gospel Quartet in America. Twenty-nine men have been a part of the quartet, and they have recorded in 30 languages, on over 100 albums and toured over fifty countries. The current members, Don, Joel, Russell and Jeff, have 5 excellent CDs and one DVD in the PAC catalog. There are 16 classic tunes here, from the accompanied, jazzy "City of Light," the a cappella spiritual "You Better Mind," and the richly harmonic "I'd Rather Have Jesus" to the lightly accompanied "One Thing I Ask," "Pass Me Not," and the spirituals "Just a Little While," and the a cappella "Si'Down Servant," this is all spirited, deeply-felt, beautifully sung Gospel music. The a cappella songs "In a Little While We're Going Home" and "There Must Be A City" are simply beautiful. Much more accompaniment than we're used to with the King's Heralds, but the vocals and harmonies are as wonderful as ever! 2287 CD 14.95
Listen to "I'd Rather Have Jesus

Posted by acapnews at 12:00 AM

January 21, 2009

No Better Cause - Sanctuary

No Better Cause is an award-winning pop/soul/funk vocal band from Lincoln, Nebraska. These 5 young men use nothing but their voices to create a full, rich sound on this collection of Gospel, Spirituals and Contemporary Christian tunes. NBC's strong vocal percussion and cutting-edge arrangements are clear on cuts like "Ride The Chariot," "Shut De Do," very funky takes on the spiritual "Wade in the Water" and "Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho," "Awesome God," the finger-popping "Oh Happy Day," "Immeasurable," "Shine Down," and "Goin' Up A Yonder." Their soulful side comes through equally strongly on "People Get Ready," the title tune, the inspirational hymn "It is Well With My Soul," "I Want Jesus to Walk With Me" and a beautifully arranged "Doxology." We like No Better Cause's energy, sweet harmonies and their spirited mix of driving, rhythmic pieces with slower, soulful hymns. Fifteen well crafted songs, where the Contemporary Christian message matches the vocals and vocal percussion in power and clarity. "Sanctuary" is wonderful stuff from talented, fast rising No Better Cause! 2360 CD 14.95
Listen to "Awesome God

Posted by acapnews at 12:26 AM

January 16, 2009

The Idea of North - The Gospel Project

Placing The Idea of North's fourth CD "The Gospel Project" in the boombox and hearing once again the perfect harmonies of these two men and two women from Australia, we are taken back to the night we saw them confidently stride out together onto the 2003 Harmony Sweepstakes stage. They were singing last after a powerful field had drawn numerous standing O's, but when they finally bowed to their own, it was clear to all that they were National Champs. "Project" has 13 songs, 4 of them accompanied by Piano/Organ, Bass and Drums. Although these, especially group member Trish Delaney-Brown's lovely original "My Soul Finds Rest" and group member Andrew Piper's arrangement of LaMarquis Jefferson's "Ain't No Rock," are excellent, we of course prefer the a cappella tunes, beginning with group member Naomi Crellin's moving original "Thou Shalt," adapting the words of Marlo Morgan's "Mutant Message From Forever;" "Revelation," arranged by Trish, who adds an interlude and additional lyric; three songs by group member Nick Begbie, "Let It Ring," "Help Us" and The Truth," adapting three prayers by Michael Leunig; Van Morrison's "Whenever God Shines His Light on Me;" "Prayer for Peace," a sweet original written and arranged by Trish; and Nick's arrangement of the traditional "Down in the River to Pray." Also totally fun, with a telling message, is the bonus track, Andrew's "The Unfortunate Tale of a Country Chicken." The full-color liner notes have all the lyrics and some great pictures of the group. "The Gospel Project" is a joy from beginning to end from Australia's best, and one of our all-time favorite a cappella groups, The Idea of North! 7653 CD 16.95
Listen to "Down in the River to Pray

Posted by acapnews at 12:04 AM

January 14, 2009

WeBe3 - Live and Improvised

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 ½ minutes, "Spontaneous Swing," the crazed "Serbian Taxi Ride" and "Let It Be So." Each of these 3 ½ 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! 3094 CD 14.95
Listen to "Time Goes By

Posted by acapnews at 12:03 AM

January 6, 2009

Four Bettys - Good Queen Fun

Chicago-based Four Bettys' first step onto the Sweet Adelines International Stage in 2004 in Indianapolis turned quite a few heads when they placed 7th. In Detroit in 2005 they took 3rd, in Las Vegas in 2006 they won 2nd, and in Alberta, Canada in 2008 they were crowned SAI Champions! The 13 songs on "Good Queen Fun" show us why. The Bettys, with a passion for performing and a combined 40+ years singing, are a joy to listen to! Some favorites are "Wonderful Day/Zip a Dee Do Dah Medley," "Come Fly with Me," "Spreadin' Rhythm Around," "Dr. Jazz/Land of Jazz Medley," Chicago's "Saturday In The Park," "My Melancholy Baby," "Gospel Medley," "This Is Some Lucky Day" and "Who I Am." With their solid harmonies and leads, the Bettys are all about great entertainment, and we're sure you'll enjoy this strong collection from one of Sweet Adelines' elite groups! 5853 CD 14.95
Listen to "My Melancholy Baby

Posted by acapnews at 12:00 AM