Take 6 evolved from a modest start in 1980 as an a cappella gospel group
from a small Southern college. Claude McKnight had formed an a cappella quartet
at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. While they were rehearsing in a
bathroom for a performance, Mark Kibble walked by (he knew Claude from Buffalo,
where they attended church together), heard them and added his voice to the
foursome. The group went through personnel shifts as various members graduated.
In 1987 the group was signed by Warner/Reprise Nashville, officially becoming
Take 6 (including members Claude McKnight, Mark Kibble, Mervyn Warren, Alvin
Chea, Cedric Dent and David Thomas).
Following their landmark debut, Take 6 ('88) and follow-up sophomore
album, So Much To Say ('90), Mervyn Warren left to pursue a career as a
producer (Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, Sister Act II soundtrack,
Manhattan Transfer, etc.). Joey Kibble, Mark Kibble's younger brother, was
invited to take his place.
Each and every Take 6 album has been certified either platinum or gold. Since
1991, Take 6 has released He Is Christmas ('92) and Join The Band
('94), and completed two tours: one in support of Join The Band, and one in
Japan, previewing Brothers ('96).
Without question, Take 6's a cappella singing has had an unparalleled influence
on modern pop music. While pop music and Take 6 embrace constant change in
expression and performance, on Brothers, the seven-time Grammy winners' new
album, the influence on Take 6's music, who they sing about and who they sing
for, remains the same. Brothers is a gospel, jazz, r&b-inflected statement of
faith in the power of God. The one constant for Take 6 is their spiritual
foundations and of course their richly layered and uniquely fashioned harmonies.
"The focus of thi album album is basically an experience of faith," says
David Thomas, the group's second tenor, "and how that faith is exercised in
the Christian's life. We see it as both an experience and an exercise in our
lives." Bass singer Alvin Chea reflects, "Maybe they'll first listen to
the harmonies, but then they'll tune into the lyrics and message which is what
we want to share. We wanted to bring our message to as many people as possible.
It's uplifting; a positive in a world of negativity. Just as people feel Take 6
is here to entertain, Take 6 believes we were put here to minister."
"While the songs on Brothers are meant to be very singable, the message we
sing about is this," says first tenor Mark Kibble. "We are still speaking
of the God we serve and the fact we love Him so much, as He loves us so much.
It speaks the sentiments of our hearts."
It would be an understatement to say that the global music scene has welcomed
Take 6 enthusiastically. The group has won seven Grammys, five Doves (Gospel
Music Awards), Best Jazz Vocal Group honors for four consecutive years in
Downbeat's prestigious Reader's and Critic's Poll, a Soul Train Music Award,
and BRE (Black Radio Exclusive) Vocal Group of the Year, amid countless other
musical and humanitarian citations.
1998 is marked with "Reinventing A Cappella Music...again" with the
release of So Cool. A very unique Take 6 sound, as Vibe said
"These pioneers smartly fuse their praise-filled messages with swing, jazz,
and pop, especially on the inspired title track.".
Claude Mc Knight also wrote: "It's good to be home!! I just want to say that
recording our most recent CD, "So Cool" was definately a labor of love for
us. We plan on sticking very closely to our Acapella roots in the future".
The sextet has recorded and/or performed with an impressive array of talent,
including Quincy Jones (Back on the Block, Q's Jook Joint), Ella Fitzgerald,
Stevie Wonder (Conversation Peace),
Don Henley (The End of the Innocence),
Kenny Rogers (Timepiece, Something Inside So Strong),
Johnny Mathis (Better Together),
Randy Travis (High Lonesome),
Modern Jazz Quartet (A Celebration),
and BeBe & CeCe Winans (Different Lifestyles, Heaven and also on Bodyguard).
They've appeared on film soundtracks to Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, John
Singleton's Boyz In The Hood, Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy and David Mamet's
Glengarry Glen Ross and others.
All members have been busy with solo projects: producing albums (Alvin, Claude,
Mark, David and Joey), animated voice-overs (David, Claude and Alvin), and even
the completion of a doctorate in Music Theory (Cedric).
Take 6 just wants to get the message out and make some beautiful music doing