- Audio CD (26 April 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Wrasse
- ASIN: B003BYQCD6
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,754 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Audio CD, CD, 26 Apr 2010
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Vocabularies is Bobby McFerrin’s first new recording in eight yearsand is unlike anything the 10-time Grammy-winning singer of "Don't Worry Be Happy" has ever recorded. An ambitious project several years in the making, it draws from the array of influences that have long contributed to McFerrin’s innovative style--classical to world music, R&B to gospel and beyond.
VOCAbuLarieS took seven years to put together, and it shows. Not only is it vocalist Bobby McFerrrin's most ambitious and wide-ranging work to date, it is also one of the most complex albums ever constructed. Remarkably, it contains more than 1,400 vocal tracks recorded by over 50 top singers, individually or in small groups, before being assembled to create a virtual choir.
The end result has that wow factor which signals an instant classic. Whether your ideal of vocal harmony is doo-wop, The Beach Boys, a gospel choir, Manhattan Transfer, Ladysmith Black Mambazo or beyond, the joyful sounds of VOCAbuLarieS will appeal to you.
McFerrin has always drawn from a broad spectrum of music, mixing and matching his tastes and influences. In his freewheeling concerts, he can switch mid-song from The Beatles straight into Ave Maria, interject some vocalese, organise an impromptu sing-along with the audience or a call-and-response exchange with a choir.
In contrast to the looseness of the live experience, but still retaining its spirit, VOCAbuLarieS is a structured, through-composed album. McFerrin worked on it with vocalist, composer and arranger Roger Treece, a member of his 12-voice group Voicestra. Treece used compositions and motifs from McFerrin's past work as the starting points for the album's seven elaborate pieces. These include Baby, McFerrin's touching anthem to parenthood, which opens VOCAbuLarieS.
Treece has captured the groove that characterises McFerrin's music, as well as his playful love of voices. The vocals are sung in a range of languages from Arabic to Latin to Zulu, so their literal meaning is secondary to the rich sound created by the constantly shifting harmonies. Although voices predominate, instruments are added sparingly, most noticeably subtle percussion.
Alongside McFerrin and members of Voicestra and New York Voices are such diverse singers as Janis Siegel from Manhattan Transfer, R&B talent Lisa Fischer, and Brazilian jazz vocalist Luciana Souza. The climax of the album, Brief Eternity, pairs McFerrin and Fischer as lead vocalists, creating a spine-tingling combination. But VOCAbuLarieS is greater than any one track, the whole being a kaleidoscopic celebration of the human voice.--John Eyles
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Top customer reviews
Producing and composing, Roger Treece is McFerrin's major co- contributor to this work. Huge credit must also go to each of over 50 singers and instrumentalists, who blend seamlessly into this truly glorious chorus.
Thanks to the clever use of woodwind and especially percussion (Alex Acuna,) we hear a vocal band, not a traditional choir. Wonderful on the set's closing piece "Brief Eternity" are the boy sopranos. There is a section of "Wailers" sung by an audience over 2,500. Languages, ensembles, dynamics and effects, this disc uses the widest imaginable vocal palette.
But "Messages," to my taste, is the very summit. I'm never satisfied to hear this song just once: it always demands at least one repeat hearing.
It features lyrics in many tongues, a core chant in Sanskrit, and a wonderfully evocative musical scale (with both a flattened second degree and fourth.) Disappointing and frustrating that here the lyrics in the booklet don't match properly what is sung. Is that a reason not to buy the album- no! Is it a reason to listen even more carefully and try learn the missing syllables the old- fashioned way? Absolutely!
"Vocabularies" is life- changing music. A blessing from McFerrin and Treece to the whole world. Be blessed.
A very carefully crafted album, full of tracks that are almost entirely out of the pop genre (they're long and hard to remember) more like modern classical pieces, full of nuances and evolving out of the verse-chorus pop schemas into a flow of sound and emotions. Yet, it keeps some catchy phrases which will keep ringing in your head after you've heard it a couple of times.
Bobby's voice is mostly merged within the talented voices of the choir and together they paint the landscapes of one's imagination with the musical flavours of different ethnics and cultures.
I am very much looking forward to the performance in Finland in 3 weeks. If they achieve only half of the refined sound that's captured in the CD, i'll be more than happy to have spent 45 euros to see them live.