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October 22, 2005

Take 6 strives to be spiritually uplifting

Louisville Courier-Journal (KY):

Take rhythm and blues, mix in a bit of gospel, pop, jazz and 1960s soul and top it off with a touch of doo-wop, and you'll have some idea of what to expect tomorrow night at the Brown Theatre when Brown-Forman Corp. presents a cappella group Take 6 as the latest Midnite Ramble Series artist. Formed originally as a quartet in 1980 at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Ala., Take 6 has performed with such legends as Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Al Jarreau and Stevie Wonder. Producer and composer Quincy Jones wrote in his liner notes for "Q's Jook Joint," which included a collaboration with the group: "Take 6 is the greatest vocal group ensemble on the planet. On this subject there is nothing else to discuss. That's the way it is."

We caught up with Take 6 founding member Claude McKnight by phone.

How have the six of you stayed creatively on the same page for 25 years?

It's been a journey for us. There are times that because we are six men, we make sure that we're "prayed up" to keep that ship on the same path! Take 6 has especially gotten it right with our newest CD, "Feels Good," which will be released in January '06. It's the first CD since our debut (1988's platinum-selling "TAKE 6") about which the six of us love every single song. We had an incredible time making the latest CD, hence the title.

One of Take 6's original intentions was to never be locked into one musical category. To that end, over the years you have received Grammy nominations in seven different categories.

We came to realize a long time ago that what we do is what we do. Now, having said that, because we are primarily an a cappella gospel jazz group, we let the critics and the audiences decide where they want to put our music. The unifying factors in what Take 6 does is that our arrangements are in the jazz realm -- even the gospel songs. We tend to do things that are uplifting spiritually. That's important to us, so whatever song we do falls into that category.

Since Take 6's formation at that small religious Huntsville college there has been only one member change (in 1985). That says a lot about your commitment to one another.

(Laughs) It's definitely a lifetime gig! We're committed to this for as long as the Lord leads us to do it.

Posted by acapnews at October 22, 2005 9:15 PM