Sixth Wave

Sixth Wave

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AllMusic Review by

Picture Take 6 with a three-male, three-female lineup and the attitude and styling of the Manhattan Transfer and you get the idea about this snazzy Los Angeles-based group, which has put together a very impressive debut CD. As they put it irreverently, their roots are in the vocalese jazz that fuels the Transfer, but they also like to rummage freely through the classic Top 40, Beatles, and 1970s funk shelves because, well, they can't help themselves. Like Take 6, they are perfectly capable of going it alone without outside support (though they admit with mock truculence, "Okay, fine, the shaker on 'Icarus' isn't a voice. So sue us!"). Like the Transfer, they are not afraid to make use of the modern studio, compressing the voices and creating odd spatial and other special effects. The singers are Elin Carlson, Cindy Bourquin, Amy Fogerson, Gerald White, Gary Rosen, and Eric Bradley -- superb, in-tune, resilient vocalists all -- and they are not a creation of the studio; their highly polished live performances confirm the sounds on this disc. Before getting into the involved hipster shtick of Jon Hendricks' "Gimme That Wine," they lead off with a stone-faithful rendition of "Grazin' in the Grass" à la the Friends of Distinction version. They have a ball with the AWB funk of "Pick Up the Pieces," and send up the ridiculously wide range of Yma Sumac on a cooking "Taki Rari." If anything, their hearts seem most tied to Beatlemania, with no less than three Lennon/McCartney gems on their debut album (including a complete R&B minor-key overhaul of "Tell Me Why"), plus a fourth non-Beatle tune, "You Can't Use My Car," that sounds like an answer song to "Drive My Car." Don't miss this vocalese sextet that rocks, swings, and croons with a terrific degree of precision and contagious enthusiasm.

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