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TAKE 6 – God's Love We Deliver
New York Hilton, January 21, 2004
by Sandra Kimborough
Fai click qui per leggere la versione in italiano

Take 6 - photo from Official Web Site

Here in NYC "God's Love We Deliver" is the name of a human services organization whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of seriously ill people throughout the city by delivering to them, fresh every day, free nutritious meals to their homes. This week the USA award-winning jazzy gospel a cappella group, Take 6, appeared at NYC's IAJE conference with their own human services mission -- to deliver for the well-being of all listeners a tasty, well-balanced and nourishing message of God's love from their musical menu of gospel, jazz, pop, R&B, doo-wop and more. Their a cappella vocal performance with instrumental accompaniment at the Wednesday night, January 21st, IAJE Conference in NYC left the Hilton Ballroom audience screaming and cheering in a standing ovation. No doubt the crowd was still hungry for more of Take 6's hot, delicious harmonies and soothing, flavorful vocals -- the group had to return to the stage for a second bow.

Alvin Chea - photo from Official Web SiteI sat down backstage with two of the members of Take 6, Joey Kibble and Alvin Chea, following that rousing performance. I wanted to explore the group's musical evolution and their ever-constant mission to deliver the message of God's love. I also wanted to learn more about Take 6's special passion for Italy and their upcoming 10 concert tour throughout Italy this Spring 2004.

Sandra Kimbrough (SK): You guys were great tonight. The crowd gave you a standing ovation! How do you feel?
Joey Kibble (JK) / Alvin Chea (AC): We're blessed. We had a really good time out there.

SK: So, tell me, how did Take 6 get started?
JK: Well, the group first formed in 1980. We were a college campus singing group, actually. Our school, Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, had a really strong musical Joey Kibble - photo from Official Web Sitetradition and we were one of a number of choirs and quartets that sang on campus. Alvin and I are really part of the second generation of Take 6 members. I joined in 1991 when Mervyn Warren left.
AC: Yeah, and I joined in 1985, along with Cedric and David, when some of the other members graduated and left the school. Claude and Mark are the oldest and original members-- they're in their 24th year with the group!

SK: So, your group members have remained almost unchanged for nearly twenty years, that's impressive. Has the Take 6 sound also remained constant like that? And how would you describe your music?
AC: We've been described as contemporary Christian jazz doo-wop and also as jazzy gospel with a contemporary flair, you name it. I would describe us as "a cappella music and beyond".

SK: A cappella music and beyond?
JK: – That's right, our roots are in gospel but we were strongly influenced by the doo-wop of the 50's and 60's as well as big band sounds and old time gospel and even barbershop and other music.
AC: We say "beyond" because we're not just one style. We enjoy all music and we've sung just about all genres of music including jazz, gospel, doo-wop, Latin, R&B, hip-hop, opera, pop, and even country western. For example, my favorite tune is probably the one we did with the Yellowjackets for a Christmas project and also one we did with Johnny Mathis some years ago. Very diverse.
JK: But we're still evolving and growing and open to new things and new musical styles.

Tale 6 - photo from Official Web SiteSK: So how are Take 6's diverse musical styles created and who does the creating?
JK: – We all write and do some arranging and all of us play one or more instruments. Some of us are formally trained, like Cedric, who has his PhD in music theory. He and Mark are the main arrangers, but we all contribute. Mostly the vocals are arranged like big band arrangements and we learn our parts pretty much around a piano by rote instead of using a lot of written music; then we record them. Keep in mind, though, we're all instrumentalists and our instrumentals are now also being incorporated into our concerts.

SK: Now, back to your "message"…from the sound of tonight's crowd at your performance, it seems as if listeners connect with Take 6 and the music, whether or not they recognize the God element of what you do.
AC: Every artist has their message. Ours is, "God is love and he wants to connect with you." That is and will always be our mission, no matter what style of music we sing. We're not trying to preach to anyone. But we have problems like everyone else and I just find that people tend to connect with the same things you've been through. This is what helps us get through and makes us feel really, really good. We want to share that with people to encourage and uplift them.

SK: What's next for Take 6?
JK: We go back into the studio next month to prepare for our next CD release scheduled for this Spring 2004. Then we'll be back in Italy this Spring for 10 concerts and the international debut of our new CD. Last year we also performed in Italy, but this year we plan to do it bigger, more dates. We're very excited. We already love Italy so much that all of us flew back to Italy a couple of weeks ago just to spend the weekend! Keep an eye on our website at www.Take6.com for specifics on our Spring 2004 Italy dates and locations.

Sandra Kimbrough, President of The Kimbrough Company, LLC, a public relations/marketing/events management firm in New York & New Jersey conducted this interview January 21, 2004 for Jazzitalia.

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