October 23, 2009

A Cappella Singers - Be Still My Soul

Celebrating their 15th year of performing in South Florida, and their "Be Still My Soul," their 8th album, The mixed-voice (20 women, 16 men) Acappella Singers are all Christians, and drawn from a hundred-mile radius, but are not affiliated with any particular denomination. Concerts are performed in churches, special and corporate events, and the group are the "resident singers" at Butterfly World, a local attraction. They sing both sacred and secular music, but always "To God's Glory." There are 14 spirited tunes here, a few with non-vocal percussion and piano. Favorites are "Uyai Mose," "Give Me Jesus," the rousing spiritual "Ain't Got Time to Die," the richly harmonic "Rise Up O Men of God," Felix Mendelssohn's "Cast Thy Burden Upon The Lord," "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go," Andrew Lloyd Webber's soaring "Pie Jesu," the powerful hymn "Be Still My Soul" and the traditional "The Lord Bless You and Keep You." The Singers are wonderfully led by Conductor Boender, their arrangements are excellent, and their sound is effortlessly clean, fresh and beautifully blended. This is a veteran choir with tremendous talent and spirit, and every song is perfect! 6707 CD 14.95
Listen to "Lift Thine Eyes

Posted by acapnews at 12:00 AM

October 17, 2009

Basix - Diversity

The first thing that the (beautiful, multi-page, color, with cool pix and all the lyrics) liner notes of "Diversity" tells us is that this is the 5th album by Basix, "the first Basix album containing solely original songs straight from the minds and hearts of all the members of the group. Enjoy!" Easy for us, since these 6 talented Danish men first formed Basix in 1995 we have been watching this group get more amazing with every excellent CD, until we hold "Diversity" in our hot little hands, a tour-de-force 2 CD set that is world-class on every level. There's a total of 19 original tunes here, all sung in English, each one a gem. The fresh, clean sound, the confident, light background vocals and vocal percussion, the surprising, poetic lyrics, the sweet leads—what's not to enjoy? OK, I guess we'll have to pick some favorites at this point. "Super Natural Conversation" on disk 2, a wonderful reggae tune with an early Beatles flavor, "Tease" on disk 1 is a sexy, rhythmic romp, the title tune on disc 1 is a juicy foot-tapping suggestion against racism, and "So Much Better" is a marvelously arranged hit with the eye-opening opening line "I'm sorry, but I think you suck." "Change" on disk 1 simply needs to be listened to, as do "Let's Move On" and "Think Twice." On disk 2 "A Thousand Years," "It Won't Matter To Me," "High On Life (In The Slow Lane)," "Honesty" and "Without You" are all stone winners. There are certain groups (The Real Group, for instance) that push the a cappella envelope with every recording, every performance, and Basix is such a group. Don't miss this one! 5868 2CDs 16.95
Listen to "Diversity

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October 10, 2009

Maybe6ix - 6

This is the debut album of all male Contemporary a cappella Italian sextet Maybe6ix. Brought together in 2006 by a cappella devotees Fausto Caravati and Alessandro Cadario, Maybe6ix became kind of a supergroup with the addition of Luca Giugno, Tony Guerrieri, Tommaso Ferrandina and Krishna Nagaraga. The avowed purpose of the group was (and continues to be) to advance Italian pop music through creative new arrangements, using the voice as the only instrument. The group wants to bring classical and pop closer together and to bring a cappella music to every musical genre. They have an experimental sound that throws faux horns, 5-part fugues and other seemingly incongruous settings into their lovely, surprising compositions. All 9 songs are in Italian, some particularly fine ones are "Infinito," "lo per lei," "Ogni mio istante," "Oceano," "La terra dei Cachi" and "Baila." Maybe6ix has a sweet, unexpected sound that brings together a smorgasbord of musical styles in the same song, in a playful, spirited way that recalls Queen on "Bohemian Rhapsody" and '08 Harmony Sweeps Champs Vocaldente. Fun, eclectic a cappella stuff from Italy! 5871 CD 15.95
Listen to "Oceano

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October 8, 2009

Cluster - Steps

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! 5866 CD 15.95
Listen to "I Wish

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October 3, 2009

Manhattan Transfer - The Chick Corea Songbook

The Chick Corea Songbook, which marks the quartet’s first new record in five years, was inspired by the classic work of jazz great Chick Corea, and features fresh and exciting vocal interpretations of many of his popular compositions, including “Spain” and “500 Miles High.” Corea, who plays on the CD, has also contributed an original composition entitled “Free Samba” especially for this album. This release also features special guest appearances by some of the finest musicians in the industry including Christian McBride, Airto, Alex Acuña, Fred Hersch, Edsel Gomez and Lou Marini, among others. 3098 CD 15.95
Listen to "Prelude

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October 1, 2009

Zing! - Zing!

Since Susan, Michelle, Melynnie and LaDonna began singing together as Zing! In 2001, their coach Melodee Wright, who sang tenor with 1977 Sweet Adelines Quartet Champs Shondells, has been a huge supporter, helping them win their first place regional champion medals and breaking into the top five in International competition in Las Vegas in 2006. There are 12 solid cuts here by this veteran quartet, some of our favorites are the group's theme song, "Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart," "If You Love Me, Really Love Me," The Turtles' "Happy Together," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love/L-O-V-E Medley," "The Old Piano Roll Blues," Spanky and Our Gang's "Lazy Day" and "Every Time We Say Goodbye." They are joined on the lovely "Let There Be Peace On Earth" by their good friends 12th Street Rag, BHS International competitors. Zing! has a sweet, powerful sound and every one of these cuts is a winner! 5867 CD 19.95
Listen to "Happy Together

Posted by acapnews at 12:08 AM