by Bobby McFerrin



Bobby McFerrin has always been a wildly restless talent, continually looking to develop fresh ideas for the human voice and place it in -- sometimes wildly -- different contexts from simple folk and pop songs to improvisational settings to strident compositional frameworks. His productions include duet records with instrumentalists Chick Corea and Yo-Yo Ma, as well as the creation of a virtual a cappella choir from his own vocal overdubs. All of this said, there has always been "something missing" from his recorded works that shows itself in concert, outside recording studio confines. On VOCAbuLarieS he seems to have found it. This is the work that anyone remotely interested in McFerrin needs to hear. Collaborating with composer, arranger, and conductor Roger Treece over seven years, McFerrin's been given a foil who not only understands his previous output, but can focus his ideas and take them to the next developmental peak. The pair employed over 50 vocalists from different genres and nations to create a virtual choir in the studio. According to a press release, they cut over 1,400 vocal tracks. The music here is "fusion" in the most seamless and beautiful sense of the word: classical, pop, soul, Middle Eastern, African, and Eastern European vocal traditions all move together, and encounter one another head-on. They meld into a whole where the seams show, but are elegantly aurally tailored to create something entirely new -- even if the material always isn't. Three selections here come from the controversially beautiful Medicine Music album, from 1996. But the versions here are radically different than the originals; the voices, rhythms, textures, and even ambiences of these voices have a more muscular quality, much more forceful and complex while simultaneously being more "listenable." The opener, "Baby," provides proof. In the original it was a simple folk song, a lullaby with African roots; here is it a harmonically challenging, intricate labyrinth where 22 singers accompany McFerrin as well as a rhythm section. "Wailers" is a pulsing chant with Middle Eastern, African, and Eastern European harmonies woven together by singers who include Sussan Deyhim, Luciana Souza, and Janis Siegel. "He Ran to the Train" combines -- in a wholly new way -- two tracks from Medicine Music in an explosively knotty, compellingly emotional call-and-response piece that is as rhythmically complex as it is harmonically. The set closes with "Brief Eternity," a new piece of modern sacred music that evokes everything from Gregorian chant and polyphony to John Tavener and Arvo Pärt. VOCAbuLarieS is easily McFerrin's finest moment on record as well as his most ambitious, and should win him some new fans even among cynics.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/06/2010
Label: Emarcy
UPC: 0602527255569
catalogNumber: 001403602

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bobby McFerrin   Primary Artist,Alto,Soprano,Bass (Vocal),Vocals,Tenor (Vocal),Alto (Vocal)
Rhiannon   Alto,Alto (Vocal),Soloist
Janis Siegel   Alto,Soprano,Soprano (Vocal),Alto (Vocal),Soloist
Darryl Tookes   Tenor (Vocal)
Lisa Fischer   Alto,Soprano,Vocals,Soprano (Vocal),Alto (Vocal)
Alex Acuña   Percussion,Bongos
Everett Bradley   Tenor (Vocal)
Pedro Eustache   Woodwind,Duduk
LaTanya Hall   Alto,Soprano,Soprano (Vocal),Alto (Vocal),Soloist
Aubrey Johnson   Soprano
Curtis King   Tenor (Vocal)
Lauren Kinhan   Alto,Soprano,Soprano (Vocal),Alto (Vocal)
Darmon Meader   Tenor (Vocal)
Kim Nazarian   Alto,Soprano,Soprano (Vocal),Alto (Vocal)
Beth Quist   Soprano
Theo Bleckmann   Tenor (Vocal)
Sussan Deyhim   Alto
Roger Treece   Alto,Percussion,Soprano,Bass (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal),Alto (Vocal),Soloist
Judi Donaghy   Alto
Alexandra Montano   Alto,Soprano,Soprano (Vocal),Alto (Vocal)
Sandy Anderson   Soprano
David Whitworth   Tenor (Vocal)
Luciana Souza   Alto,Soprano,Soprano (Vocal),Alto (Vocal),Soloist
Michael Steinberger   Tenor (Vocal)
Kristina Boerger   Alto,Soprano,Soprano (Vocal),Alto (Vocal)
Richard Slade   Tenor (Vocal)
Josephine Lee   Alto
Rosana Eckert   Soprano
Fletcher Sheridan   Tenor (Vocal)
Amelia Watkins   Alto,Soprano,Soprano (Vocal)
Lincoln Briney   Tenor (Vocal)
Ryland Angel   Tenor (Vocal)
Cole Davis   Soprano (Vocal)
Michele Weir   Alto
Gayla Morgan   Alto,Soprano
Elizabeth Farnum   Alto,Soprano
Thom Baker   Tenor (Vocal)
Dave Worm   Tenor (Vocal)
Kevin Osborne   Bass (Vocal)
Katie Campbell   Alto,Soprano,Soprano (Vocal),Alto (Vocal)
Michelle Mailhot-Valines   Alto,Soprano,Soprano (Vocal)
Gary Eckert   Bass (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal)
Andrea Figallo   Bass (Vocal)
Albert Hera   Bass (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal),Soloist
Joey Blake   Bass (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal)
Daniel Abraham DeVeau   Soprano (Vocal)
Sandra Anderson   Soprano (Vocal)
Pierre Cook   Tenor (Vocal)
Peter Eldridge   Bass (Vocal)
David Root   Tenor (Vocal)
Datevik Hovanesian   Alto
Bonnie Denise Christiansen   Soprano
Michele Eaton   Soprano,Soprano (Vocal)
Darren Percival   Tenor (Vocal)
Marlon Saunders   Tenor (Vocal)
Don McCaslin   Saxophone

Technical Credits

Bobby McFerrin   Composer,Lyricist
Linda Goldstein   Producer,Original Design Concept
Roger Treece   Composer,Lyricist,Producer,Engineer
Jeff Tamarkin   Liner Notes
Bruno Canale   Engineer
Gary Eckert   Engineer
Karen Goldfeder   Liner Notes
Don Rosler   Composer,Lyricist

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VOCAbuLarieS 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
kytemusic More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of Bobby McFerrin from any incarnation, put on your seat belt. Bobby makes another turn into familiar/unfamiliar territory. And he does it with style and elan. It took me a couple of listens, but now I just keep it in my car CD player. Been there about three weeks and I only have one CD in at a time. Don't expect deep thoughts or moods; but they might be there. Just be prepared for rhythm and beat and words and flow. Sometimes I play the same track over and over depending on my mood; sometimes, just let it ride. I think it is the best thing Bobby has done in years
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago