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Circlesongs

Bobby McFerrin

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Album Review

Back in the late 1980s, Bobby McFerrin unveiled his sensational a cappella vocal group Voicestra, but the peripatetic singer/composer (and now conductor) waited nearly a decade before putting anything out in that concept, and on a classical label yet! Taking the lead, the rubber-voiced McFerrin sets up revolving wordless vocal patterns, and he and the group improvise what amount to eight individual mantras. The songs have no titles — only "Circlesong One," "Circlesong Two," et al — yet they use all kinds of African, Middle Eastern, and other vocal or vocal percussive techniques, as well as studio production embellishments, to shape them after the fact. The 12 singers in this Voicestra are a freely eclectic mixture of R&B, gospel, pop, and jazz vocalists (including the Manhattan Transfer's Janis Siegel), performance artists, opera and classical singers, yet they blend together in an astonishingly homogenous manner when used in this fashion. The first "Circlesong" is the most immediately fetching, built around a single riff as McFerrin hollers and moans over the shifting voices, but all of them contain some amazing ideas, and at a mere 42 minutes, the album does not wear out its welcome as it might have, had McFerrin stretched the music out to the usual CD length. It's hard to figure out what category to put this disc in — maybe next to Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the world music shelf — but labels don't matter in a soundworld with this much imagination and heart. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Biography

Born: 11 March 1950 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Vocal virtuoso Bobby McFerrin ranks among the most distinctive and original singers in contemporary music — equally adept in jazz, pop, and classical settings, his octave-jumping trademark style, with its rhythmic inhalations and stop-on-a-dime shifts from falsetto to deep bass notes often sounds like the work of at least two or three singers at once, while at the same time sounding quite unlike anyone else. The son of husband-and-wife classical singers, McFerrin was born in New York City on...
Full bio
Circlesongs, Bobby McFerrin
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  • 7,92 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Vocal Jazz
  • Released: 18 November 1996

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