North Carolina Newspapers

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(Elic Ctiarlottc ^3ost
Thursday, September 27, 1990
ENTERTAINMENT
Take 6 Expands Kange With New LP
SPECIAL TO THE POST
It Is one of the most unlikely
sagas in the history of popular
music. An a capella Gospel group
from a small college In Hunts
ville, Alabama turns the musi
cal world on Its ear, as Its first
album earns unprecedented
praise from the Industry's big
gest stars, achieves gold status,
and takes a number of major
awards capped by three Gram-
mys.
The Take 6 story, though, hap
pily continues to defy expecta
tion, for just as fans and critics
alike are running out of superla
tives, the group has released a
second album that Is even more
astounding than the first. It's
still what member Mervyn War
ren calls "contemporary Chris
tian a capella pop Jazz," but this
time around the textures have
deepened, the musical Influenc
es are more varied, and the add
ed complexity makes the crys
tal-clear harmonies even more
dazzling.
So Much 2 Say, well over a year
In the making, also adds an oc
casional splash of humor and
offers a more complete look at
the Incredible range of talents of
the group's six members. Eight
of the LP's songs are. In fact, are
originals.
"Working on this new material
was quite a challenge, " says
Warren. "Not only are we trying
to Improve upon what we've
done In the past, we are making
this project more our own by do
ing the majority of writing, all
of th arranging and the entire
production. We cover all the bas
es that a band would, only with
our voices. It gets a little tricky. I
believe the first album says.
This Is who we are.' So Much 2
Say says, 'This Is what we can
do.'
It Is an Impressive display.
From the opening bars of the
title track, it Is apparent that we
are In breathtakingly fresh ter
ritory, where the human voice
becomes the ultimate Instru
ment, providing lead, rhythm
and percussion, with rapid-fire
staccato delivery alternating
with richly textured, soaring
chords.
As the LP unfolds, there are
touches of doo-wop, the Caribb
ean, the classics, traditional
gospel and scattlng Jazz, blend
ing Into one another an often
taking unexpected twists and
turns, and all delivered with an
extraordinary dynamic range.
"With So Much 2 Say, I feel
that Take 6 has grown up musi
cally and stylistically," says
member Claude McKnlght.
Much of the credit for that can
be attributed to plain, old-
fashioned hard work. So Much 2
Say was painstakingly assem
bled over the course of a year
that saw group members set
aside studio time when they
could. They are, as may be ex
pected, some of the busiest young
men on the planet, as they Juggle
a phenomenally successful ca
reer with family life and. In sev
eral cases, continuing educa
tions.
It was during the course of the
education that Take 6 first took
root. The group had its begin
nings In the Gentlemen's Estate
Quartet at the 1200-student Oak-
wood College, a Seventh-day Ad
ventist Institution In Hunts
ville, Alabama. In a now-
famous episode, the group's four
members were taking advantage
of the acoustics In a campus
bathroom when Mark Kibble
walked In, listened for a mo
ment, and began adding a fifth
part. He, In turn. Introduced the
group to Warren, and, with a
name change-to Alllance-the
group settled on Its current line
up, which consists of Kibble,
Warren, Claude V. McKnlght III,
Cedric Dent, Alvin "Vlnnle"
Chea and David Thomas.
In June of 1987, Alliance head
ed to Nash'vllle to do a showcase,
they Invited executives from all
the major gospel labels, with an
eye to landing a recording deal,
the Interest they were looking
for, though, came from an unex
pected source-Wamer Bros./
Reprise Records Nash'vllle presi
dent Jim Ed Norman, who had
heard the group's tap>e a year ear
lier and came to check them out
for himself. Within two days of
the showcase. Reprise Records
and AUlance-soon to change Its
name to Take 6-an Inked a deal.
By the following winter, with
the group's first album nearing
completion, the phenomenal
nature of the reaction they
would be getting from all quar
ters was beginning to make It
self kno'wn. Singer Andy Wil
liams caught their first national
TV appearance, on NBC's Today
show, and In'vlted them to ac
company him on an eight-city
tour. In April, they were featured
tarn
by Winfired B. Cross
Hntcrtainment Editor
rake 6 - So Much 2 Say.
(Varner Bros./Reprlse
Produced by Mervyn Warren,
Co-produced by Take 6
So, Just how good Is this new
Take 6 cassette?
I don't like It quite as much as
their sparkling debut effort, but
I doubt that I'll ever like any
thing as much as that
Still, I think this cassette Is
the most logical direction for
the group to take. The lyrics are
stm firmly rooted In the gospel.
Spreading the love of Jesus
Christ Is tile still the main point
of these guys. But they are using
different vehicles to do that.
The Jazz Influences are still In
tact ("So Much 2 Say) as well as
the more traditional sounds
("The Savior Is Waiting"). But
they've added some calypso
(Check out the break In
"Something Within Me.), pop
and delicious funk ("I L-O-V-E-
U). And they handle all of the
different styles with little trou
ble.
I would have liked a few more
traditional numbers but that's a
very minor criticism. What
they've Included here Is excep
tional. As always their harmo
nies are awe-lnspiring. Nice fol
low-up guys. Very nice.
☆ ☆☆☆
Excellent
Good
Fair
☆ Why?
am South Africa: Artists for A Free South
J Africa, recently held a festive benefit to raise
funds in support of cause. Among those on
hand were Jasmine Guy, Carl Anderson,
Glynn Turman, Blair Underwood, Shari Bele-
fonte, C.C.H. Pounder, Alfre Woodard'and a
host of others. Woodard, who spearheads
many of groups activities, ways "we've got to
continue to provide educational
support and economic aid." Woo
dard says the most important
thing to her Is "seeing that Afri
can-American children are edu
cated, you do that and you solve
101 problems. Meanwhile, Los
Angeles theatre fans will receive
quite a treat when she stars In a
weeklong performance to the LA
stage play "Love Letters", oppo
site Blair Underwood. Under
wood, by the way, says we can
look forward to some surprises
In this season's "LA Law", but he
won't say what they are. We do
know, however, that Paul Win
field will Join the cast temporar
ily for a stint as an A1 Sharpton-
type with some sort of tie to Blair.
Is What You See, What you Get? Perhaps the biggest talk on the
entertainment news circuit Is Whitney Houston's reply to rumors
that she Is gay in two hlghly-vlslble magazines- Fame & Life,
BEHIND THE
SCENES
with Lisa Collins
on the Sports Emmys program,
and In May performed with San-
dl Patti at New York's Radio City
Music Hall.
At around this time, Stevie
Wonder heard the LP and called
Take 6 manager Gall Hamilton
at 3 a.m. to ask that the group
Join him for his pending Radio
Clly Music Hal dates. Hamilton
says she asked him to call back
In the morning, 'to make sure I
wasn't dreaming." Wonder also
scoured record stores, buying up
more than 200 copies of the CD
to give to friends.
That fall, Take 6 recorded
Grammy-nomlnated original
music for the Murphy Brown TV
show, and sang the national an
them at the World Series, activi
ties not usually within the grasp
of Gospel groups with Just one
album under their belts.
In the two years since that
time, the collection of awards,
collaborations and appearances
amassed by Take 6 would make
Impressive career highlights for
the most seasoned entertainers,
let alone relative newcomers.
The awards include three
Grammys, four Dove awards,
two Stellar awards, and nods
from Black Radio Exclusive and
Soul Train, as well as a nomina
tion for the NAACP Image
award. The group has already re
corded ad /or performed 'with a
stunning array of stars from a
variety of musical arenas. In
cluding Quincy Jones, Johnny
Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald, A1 Jar-
reau, Melba Moore. James Tay
lor, Patti Austin. Phoebe Snow,
Branford Marsalis, BeBe & CeCe
Wlnans, Joe Sample and k.d.
lang.
In addition to being featured
on every major television talk
show, T^e 6 sang and appeared
In the theme of Brewster Place
(which was. Incidentally, ar
ranged by Warren), had songs
featured on the soundtrack to
Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing
and Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy.
and did commercials for Burger
King, Domino's Pizza, and Mit
subishi Electric Corporation.
Their considerable Influence
has also been a rallying point
for charities, as they have
helped to raise money with ap
pearance at benefits for Big
Brothers/Blg Sisters, the Na
tional Association for Retarded
Citizens, and Special Olympics,
among others.
They also saw their debut al
bum hit the Inspirational, spir
itual and Jazz charts-all at the
same tlme-and have seen their
message received enthuslastl-
calty In Europe and Japan.
The word "message" Is not used
lightly, for, above all. Take 6
has never considered watering
down the straightforward Gos-
p>el l3o-lcs It sets to such dazzling
music.
"All of our gifts and talents are
God-given, says Warren. 'We
have always done Christian mu
sic, and we 'wUl always do Chris
tian music.
I feel that here Is a lot of love
on this album, as well as a lot of
the same Christian message that
we aspired to give on the first al
bum, adds Mcknight."We take
that part of who we are very seri
ously."
Belefonta
marking the first time (I know of) the superstar has publicly ad
dressed the longtime rumors. Houston that when she first heard
about the rumors that she cried. Now she says the rumors crack her
up. She added that the woman In question Is a childhood friend, as
well as executive assistant. Adding that she saw Eddie Murphy for a
time, Houston Implied that her career had preempted a romantic
life, but that she was presently Involved with a steady guy who was
"veiy much a man"... Meanwhile, the October Issue of Spin, featur
ing a candid conversation between Spike Lee and Eddie Murphy, la
also generating a lot of talk. The most surprising news here Is Mur
phy's falling out with childhood Idol, Richard I%or. "It's weird to
find out that your Idol hates you," Murphy says. Of course, the fea
ture also covers the now overplayed Eddie Murphy-Spike Lee feud.
This turns out to be little more than hot air, as the two actually find
they have alot In common after talking. (Meanwhile,
S word Is Murphy's next movie for Paramount Is going
to be none other than a western).
tepplng Out Of Janet's Campi Anthony Thomas
(who won an MTV Video award for his choreography
of Janet Jackson's Rhjdhm Nation" has left the Jan
et Jackson camp to pursue other projects. (Quiet as Is kept, he also
sings. In fact, Janet spotted the 25-year old choreographer-
performer while he was part of a band called the LA City Rockers.
Course, It was his flashy dance moves that caught her eye). In the
meantime, Chuckll Booker has left the tour, and Is being replaced
by Rex Salas, as musical director. Johnny Gill becomes her new
opening act.
Coming To The Aid Of Curtis; A concert
tribute to Curtis Mayfield, who Is pres
ently undergoing physical therapy (after
an onstage accident left him paralyzed
from the neck down) was being staged
last week In Los Angeles at the Palace.
Artists slated to be on hand Include the
Impressions, Ice-T, Tone-Loc, Easy-E,
and Kid Frost, Proceeds will help defray
the mounting medical costs of the 48-
year old singer, now hospitalized at a
spinal hospital In Georgia. Donations
can be sent to the Curtis Mayfield Recov
ery Fund, c/o Jack Culbreth, 10 Pied
mont Center- Suite 350, 3495 Piedmont
Road NE, Atlanta. OA 30305... By Tha
Way: Kim Coles has definitely left Fox's
Wavans Living Color", but denies tabloid re-
ports that It's due to a bad romance with
creator, Keenan Ivory Wayans. Instead, sources maintain Coles,
who Is married. Is leaving to pursue other projects... Congratula
tions to Emmy winners Thomas Carter (Creator/director of "Equal
Justice"), and Keenan Wayans who picked up the trophy In the cate-
goiy of "Best variety, music, or comedy series." Next week: The
tables turn on R&B's Angela Wlnbush.
■1
    

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