March 23, 2011

Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Songs From a Zulu Farm

"Songs from a Zulu Farm" is the 16th excellent album by Ladysmith, in addition to 4 live performance DVDs. These nine Zulu men, led by leader/founder Joseph Shabalala, are one of our favorite African Choral groups of all time; and their hythmic mbube songs made them famous throughout Africa long before Paul Simon was captivated by their music and wrote and recorded with them. Several of their albums, notably "Gift of the Tortoise" and "How The Leopard Got His Spots" with Danny Glover, are directed at children, and so is "Songs from a Zulu Farm." Since their earliest recordings, the men of Ladysmith have maintained a reverence for their past, a time of youth and innocence, when the world consisted of the hills and open fields of their parents' farms in Zululand. The English translations of these 16 song titles tells the story: "Away, You River Snakes," "Bad Donkey," "Don't Leave Home Too Soon," "River Talk," "Clouds, Move Away!," "The Prettiest Bird?," "The Donkey's Complaint," "Catch The Bird," "Praise the Cows and Bulls," "Wake Up, Little Chicks," "I Miss My Home, I Miss the Farm" and "Old MacDonald, Zulu Style." The hypnotic rhythms, the joyous harmonies, all make us want to accept LBM's invitation to come home with them, a home that nurtured and taught these exceptional singers. Colorful and extensive liner notes, and the music, throughout, complete with animal and other sound effects, is beautiful and touching! . 6082 CD 13.95
Listen to "Cabhayeye (Puddles!)

Posted by acapnews at 1:03 AM

March 19, 2011

Cuesta Voce - Timepieces

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!" 6089 CD 14.95
Listen to "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy

Posted by acapnews at 1:07 AM

March 18, 2011

Afro Blue - Freedom in Song

First formed in the Spring of 2002, Afro Blue, Howard University's premier Vocal Jazz ensemble, under the able direction of Connaitre Miller, has quickly attracted national attention. The group received the 2003 DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award for Best College Jazz Group. Another DownBeat award followed in 2004, and in 2007 Howard University graduate student Quincy Phillips won a DownBeat Award for Best College Jazz Arrangement of "Alone Together," which he did for Afro Blue, and which is included in this 2-Disc collection. A total of 30 student Jazz vocalists perform on "Freedom in Song," plus 6 student instrumentalists. There are 11 songs on the first CD and 12 on the second, mostly a cappella with some light piano, bass and drums accompaniment on a few tunes. Some favorites on Disc 1 are Curtis Mayfield's powerful "Keep On Pushin'," Chick Corea's moody "Crystal Silence," Oliver Nelson's smooth, bluesy "Stolen Moments," the traditional spiritual title tune, Joaquin Rodgrigo & Chick Corea's dynamic hit "Spain" and Arthur Swartz & Howard Dietz' "Alone Together," arranged by grad student Phillips. Disc 2 favorites are Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" and his (with Irving Mills) groundbreaking hit "It Don't Mean a Thing," Kenny Dorham & Kirby Shaw's bluenote "Blue Bossa," The Real Group's Anders Endenroth's "Chile Con Carne," a scattish take on Cole Porter's hit "It's All Right With Me," Thelonious Monk & Bernie Hanighen's "'Round Midnight" and Antonio Carlos Jobim & Vinicius de Moraes' "No More Blues." This generous 2 disc set is a "best of" of this top-drawer Collegiate Vocal Jazz ensemble's 8 years of existence, and every cut is strong here—don't miss "Freedom in Song 6082 2CDs 19.95
Listen to "Nica's Dream

Posted by acapnews at 1:01 AM

March 14, 2011

Gold Company - Who Could Ask For Anything More

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!" 6104 CD 14.95
Listen to "Prisoner Of Love

Posted by acapnews at 12:59 AM

March 2, 2011

Bobby McFerrin - Live in Montreal

Since a cappella pioneer Bobby McFerrin singlehandedly gave the vocal arts a hand up to a whole new level of possibilities in the 1980s with his iconic hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy," we have looked at him and listened to him with awe and gratitude. Experiencing him perform live several times only increased these feelings exponentially, and we had the feeling that everyone in the audience was on exactly the same page. Well, in the early 90s Bobby seems to have picked up on that, and has invited the audience to participate, and included interaction with guest musicians, all improvised. This has cemented his reputation as a marvelous entertainer, and has created a new kind of concert—not a performance, but a "communal sharing and celebration of music." This is exactly what the new DVD "Live in Montreal" is all about. It's beautifully filmed at the "Festival International de Jazz de Montreal," In these 21 video cuts, part of the audience is right up on stage with Bobby, and he improvises and creates musical events with them and members of the main audience. He improvises with a trapeze artist above him, and with a singing viola player. I'll just list some of the cut titles to give you a taste of what happens in this very special DVD: 12. "Improvisation with Richard Bona," 13. "Improvisation, Country Stuff," 13. "Baby," 14. "Improvisation with Tamango "Well You Needn't," 15. "Bwee Do," 16. "Le Grand Choeur de Montreal, It's a Wonderful World," 17. "Circlesong One," 18. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and 19. "The Wizard of Oz Medley." Bobby is a living a cappella legend, and this live show is creative, funny, touching and simply brilliant. Don’t miss this one! 4609 DVD 21.95

Posted by acapnews at 1:14 AM