After a little over a decade since their last Christmas CD, at long last, the award-winning-- and still reigning Crown Princes of Six-Piece Harmony-- Take 6, have returned bearing gifts guaranteed to make your season bright. ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ features ten outstanding renditions of timeless traditional carols and other holiday classics, elegantly styled in their signature sound of gospel, jazz, soul, and bathed in silky smooth, cool. These golden-throated virtuosos of sound –as always--offer a little something for everyone, and like their previous holiday releases, this one is no different in that regard, which is sure to please long-time fans. What sets this group apart from the rest of the pack is the fact that they never stop raising the bar on themselves. They always go to great lengths to find ways to grow and stretch, and the end result of those valiant efforts is a marvelous gift of great Christmas classics for the masses, re-created into new and exceptional works that stand all on their own. As the old adage goes, "The proof is in the pudding!"
If you love your Christmas classics with a jazzy splash of pizzazz, try the joyous title cut, "It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year", and the spirited, "Sleigh Ride" on for size. And please don’t skip over the slick-snappy version of Tchaikovsky's, "The Sugarplum Dance (Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy)”, from "The Nutcracker", and "Jingle Bells", complete with finger snaps and a sweet, muted trumpet sound. It sounds so good, that you’ll bop your head into serious neck sprain! Is the weather outside so frightful that you wished you could have spent your holiday somewhere warm? No problem… these guys have got you covered! Just press PLAY on the Latin-flavored, "White Christmas", close your eyes and allow yourself to be transported --warp speed-- from the chair in front of your snow-covered living room window to that tropical paradise where you’ll swear you feel sun on your skin and sand between your toes, as you do a solo Salsa dance on the white sandy beach in your mind! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch", from the ‘60s Dr. Seuss classic, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas"?!?!? You bet it is, and what an absolute treat!! You’ll return to fond memories of your childhood as you choke with laughter at the playful and comical vocal "bass-off" between Claude (Claudiemack) McKnight and Alvin Chea in this hysterical masterpiece – emphasis on masterpiece! Care for a little traditional with a twist? "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear", "I'll Be Home For Christmas", and the glorious English carol, "I Saw Three Ships", are so exquisite you’ll need to toss another log onto the fire to shake off those good chills. The sweet surprise (and last cut on the CD), is the gorgeous and heart-melting," Christmas Time Is Here", from another ‘60s classic, "A Charlie Brown Christmas", sung by Shelea Frazier (on piano) whose pristine voice lightly floats above the beautiful background vocals provided by Take 6. Her purity of tone and delicate phrasing are reminiscent of the late, great, Syreeta Wright.
DO NOT look this Gift Horse in the mouth! This festive and finely-crafted holiday music, executed par excellence, is the elixir for the heavy-laden soul in dire need of relief from the "Bah Humbugs", and brings the added Christmas cheer that loyal fans have been waiting for. This one merits wearing out the REPEAT button on your remote for many Christmases to come!
About the Writer
Holly Fountain is a music and concert enthusiast and an avid collector of vinyl and CD’s from the 60’s and '70s. In her spare time, she enjoys writing concert reviews in her own entertaining and unconventional style.