Take 6 performs holiday concert at Ashland University
The 2011-2012 Ashland University Spectrum Series presents a holiday concert by the multi-GRAMMY Award and Dove Award winning a cappella jazz group known as Take 6 on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at
7:30 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre.
Produced by the College of Arts and Sciences, Ashland University’s premiere Spectrum Series presents internationally recognized figures in the arts to enhance cultural experiences for the University community and surrounding areas.
As the heir to the rich tradition of the doo-wop and gospel groups of the 1950s, and the leader in the second wave of jazz and pop vocal groups that emerged in the 1990s, the Take 6 story began at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Ala., in 1980, when freshman Claude V. McKnight III formed a quartet known as the Gentlemen’s Estate Club. When tenor Mark Kibble heard the group rehearsing in a campus restroom, he joined in the harmonies and performed onstage with the group that same night.
Mervyn Warren joined shortly after, and the group briefly took the name of Alliance. They performed in local churches and on campus for the next few years. After college, the group signed with the Warner Brothers label in 1987 and changed their name to Take 6.
Their self-titled debut album released the following year scored two GRAMMY Awards and landed in the top 10 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz and Contemporary Christian charts. The group’s swinging, harmony-rich gospel sound attracted a flurry of attention, and the group went on to record or perform with numerous jazz luminaries, including Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder. The 1990 follow-up album, So Much 2 Say, was equally successful, climbing to the number two spot on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart and scoring a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. Warren left the group a year later to pursue a career as a producer. He was replaced by Joey Kibble, Mark’s younger brother.
The group added instrumentation to their purely a cappella sound beginning with the 1991 holiday release, He Is Christmas. The album scored yet another GRAMMY, this time for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.
A string of finely crafted recordings continued throughout the remainder of the decade: Join the Band (1994), Brothers (1996), So Cool (1998) and a second holiday album, We Wish You a Merry Christmas (1999). Join the Band and Brothers were both GRAMMY winners.
In 2000, Take 6 released a live recording and a best-of collection, followed by Beautiful World in 2002. The group left Warner Brothers after Beautiful World and launched their own Take 6 label. Their maiden voyage in the new venture was Feels Good, released in 2006.
Take 6 joined Heads Up International with the release of The Standard in August 2008. The album includes guest appearances by R&B luminaries Aaron Neville and Brian McKnight (Claude’s brother), as well as veteran jazzmen George Benson, Al Jarreau and Jon Hendricks. “While we sing lyrics that always exemplify our spiritual and moral convictions, what we really are at the core is a jazz vocal group,” says Dave Thomas, a member of the Take 6 lineup since 1985.
In 2010, Take 6 released their third Christmas album of holiday favorites and classic Christmas standards titled, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Take 6 continues to tour around the world delivering amazing performances, and igniting fans with their first instrument, their voices.
Single tickets for the Take 6 concert are $15 for adults; $12 for senior citizens, students, Ashland University faculty and staff; $10 for groups of 10 or more; and $2 for Ashland University students with identification. All tickets can be purchased through the Ashland University Box Office at 419.289.5125, noon to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or online (additional fees apply) at www.ashland.edu/tickets.