Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College concludes their 2010 Headliners series with We Wish You a Merry Christmas, a holiday concert by the Grammy-winning Christian vocal jazz group Take 6 on Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 8pm. The concert will include selections from their brand new 2010 release, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
Take 6 has made an indelible musical and cultural mark in the past quarter century with their unique blend of jazz, gospel, R&B and vintage doo-wop, winning 10 Grammy Awards, 10 Dove Awards, two NAACP Image Awards and a Soul Train Award. The group is the most nominated Gospel, Jazz, Pop or R&B artist in Grammy history.
The Take 6 story began at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, 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 - of all places - 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, with personnel changing frequently as older members graduated and new voices arrived on campus to replace them.
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 ten 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. "So we decided to do an album of jazz standards, a record that will stand up as the jazz vocal album for all time." The Standard garnered three Grammy nominations in 2009 for Best Gospel Performance, Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), and Best Jazz Instrumental Solo.
In October 2010, Take 6 teamed again with Heads Up Records to release their long awaited third Christmas album titled The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. The primary objective of the making of the album was to create a sense of familiarity, according to group founder Claude McKnight. "We wanted all the songs on this album to be the kind that people would hear and say, 'Oh, yeah, I sing that at Christmas time," he says. "We picked songs that we sing with our families every year at the holidays... We just wanted to make a record that would put out a really cool, all-around Christmas vibe." The album includes familiar titles including "White Christmas," "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," and the Vince Guaraldi composition "Christmas Time is Here," a song made famous in the classic holiday television special A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts' 2010-2011 Headliners Series is sponsored by Con Edison.
About Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Founded in 1954, the mission of Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts is to present outstanding performing arts and arts education programs, reflective of Brooklyn's diverse communities, at affordable prices. Brooklyn Center's presentations explore both the classical traditions and the boldest contemporary performances, embracing the world culture that defines Brooklyn. Brooklyn Center welcomes over 70,000 people to the 2,400 seat Walt Whitman Theatre each season, and boasts one of the largest arts education programs in the borough, serving 46,000 schoolchildren from over 300 schools annually with its SchoolTime series.
Take 6: We Wish You a Merry Christmas at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College
2900 Campus Road, Brooklyn
(2 train to Brooklyn College/Flatbush Avenue)
Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 8pm
Tickets: $42/$32 ($45/$35 at the door)
Online orders: BrooklynCenterOnline.org
Box Office: (718) 951-4500, Tuesday - Saturday, 1PM - 6PM
Groups of 15 or more: (718) 951-4600, ext. 33