With intelligence, imagination, passion, and skill, Take 6 offers an unprecedented convergence of a cappella vocal artistry with solid instrumental accompaniment on Beautiful World. Produced by the highly talented Marcus Miller (of Miles Davis' electric period fame) and fueled by the intriguing messages delivered on 13 great songs from the pop, gospel, and soul styles, Beautiful World is overflowing with inventive lyricism and catches the listener up in Take 6's musical stories. The title track is performed with new lyrics to the verses that give it an actual gospel message, a departure from the tongue-in-cheek cynicism of the original song released as "I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)" by Steely Dan. David Thomas sings a very beautiful "Fragile" -- the pop hit made famous by Sting -- with such reverence and feeling that he transcribes the song's impact for a new generation of soul/gospel enthusiasts. On "Takin' It to the Streets," the addition of alto saxophone riffs by David Sanborn alongside the six-man group's vocal harmonizing makes it even more enjoyable. Alvin Chea's vocal bass "walkin'" style of a cappella singing is the perfect alter ego for Marcus Miller's explorative "talkin'" bass guitar lines that have been heard around the world. Joey Kibble's fresh reprise on "Grandma's Hands" is uplifting, containing spiritual encouragement that, along with a ripe saxophone interpretation of the refrain, makes this song a pick. The multiple award-winning group's classic African-American gospel-based interpretations of some of the most enjoyable music of the 20th century -- combined with new instrumental dimensions -- make Beautiful World an excellent addition to your listening pleasures.
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein
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