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Every Voice Counts CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, March 10, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Vocal quartet, mostly close-harmony jazz but also our own twists on pop and rock tunes.

Review

There is a community of people who practice and enjoy vocal jazz. I don t belong to it .... While I do sing in an a cappella quartet, and have a long history in vocal music, and know my flat nines from my raised elevens, I find many of the trappings of vocal jazz a little too much about Wow!,look at us, we re doing all this technically hard stuff with our voices ... and not enough about the songs themselves. Fortunately, while all the members of Clockwork have complete card-carrying credibility in this community, they also go far beyond the genre. They honor the song! This record is complete evidence of that. True, some of the arrangements are demanding and require the consummate singing abilities that they all possess, but these same arrangements and performances never fail to capture the spirit of the song itself. This record is at once playful, soulful, and precise. There is traditional vocal jazz excellence. There are jaw-dropping solos. There is stunning vocal-ese. There is fine rhythm section backing. There is an eclectic selection of songs ranging from Rhode Island to Radiohead, with detours to Cat Stevens, Dave Frishberg, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill, Dr Seuss, Ani DiFranco mashed up with Herbie Hancock, Charlie Parker, a gut wrenching Hurricane Katrina tale mashed up with the Beatles, some creepy/ironic Steely Dan, even a traditional folk ballad. Clockwork: Angie Soprano, Juliet Alto, John Tenor, and Dave Baritone four diverse voices, four individual personalities, four histories in vocal music. What I m struck by is how completely they have managed to form a group identity with this record, a blend, a sound that is reminiscent of great vocal groups of the past, but in the end truly their own. --Richard Bob Greene, The Bobs, Every Voice Counts producer

There is a community of people who practice and enjoy vocal jazz. I don t belong to it .... While I do sing in an a cappella quartet, and have a long history in vocal music, and know my flat nines from my raised elevens, I find many of the trappings of vocal jazz a little too much about Wow!,look at us, we re doing all this technically hard stuff with our voices ... and not enough about the songs themselves. Fortunately, while all the members of Clockwork have complete card-carrying credibility in this community, they also go far beyond the genre. They honor the song! This record is complete evidence of that. True, some of the arrangements are demanding and require the consummate singing abilities that they all possess, but these same arrangements and performances never fail to capture the spirit of the song itself. This record is at once playful, soulful, and precise. There is traditional vocal jazz excellence. There are jaw-dropping solos. There is stunning vocal-ese. There is fine rhythm section backing. There is an eclectic selection of songs ranging from Rhode Island to Radiohead, with detours to Cat Stevens, Dave Frishberg, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill, Dr Seuss, Ani DiFranco mashed up with Herbie Hancock, Charlie Parker, a gut wrenching Hurricane Katrina tale mashed up with the Beatles, some creepy/ironic Steely Dan, even a traditional folk ballad. Clockwork: Angie Soprano, Juliet Alto, John Tenor, and Dave Baritone four diverse voices, four individual personalities, four histories in vocal music. What I m struck by is how completely they have managed to form a group identity with this record, a blend, a sound that is reminiscent of great vocal groups of the past, but in the end truly their own. --Richard Bob Greene, The Bobs, Every Voice Counts producer

There is a community of people who practice and enjoy vocal jazz. I don t belong to it .... While I do sing in an a cappella quartet, and have a long history in vocal music, and know my flat nines from my raised elevens, I find many of the trappings of vocal jazz a little too much about Wow!,look at us, we re doing all this technically hard stuff with our voices ... and not enough about the songs themselves. Fortunately, while all the members of Clockwork have complete card-carrying credibility in this community, they also go far beyond the genre. They honor the song! This record is complete evidence of that. True, some of the arrangements are demanding and require the consummate singing abilities that they all possess, but these same arrangements and performances never fail to capture the spirit of the song itself. This record is at once playful, soulful, and precise. There is traditional vocal jazz excellence. There are jaw-dropping solos. There is stunning vocal-ese. There is fine rhythm section backing. There is an eclectic selection of songs ranging from Rhode Island to Radiohead, with detours to Cat Stevens, Dave Frishberg, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill, Dr Seuss, Ani DiFranco mashed up with Herbie Hancock, Charlie Parker, a gut wrenching Hurricane Katrina tale mashed up with the Beatles, some creepy/ironic Steely Dan, even a traditional folk ballad. Clockwork: Angie Soprano, Juliet Alto, John Tenor, and Dave Baritone four diverse voices, four individual personalities, four histories in vocal music. What I m struck by is how completely they have managed to form a group identity with this record, a blend, a sound that is reminiscent of great vocal groups of the past, but in the end truly their own. --Richard Bob Greene, The Bobs, Every Voice Counts producer

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I Carry You Around / Chameleon
  2. Rhode Island Is Famous For You
  3. The Goodbye Look
  4. Creep
  5. I Thought About You
  6. Who's Blues (Whose Blues)
  7. Where Do the Children Play?
  8. Pontchartrain
  9. My Attorney Bernie
  10. None Of Us Are Free
  11. Anthropology
  12. The Water is Wide


Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 10, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: PrecisionChaos Records
  • ASIN: B003BV4DF8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #627,462 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
I first heard of this four-member "jazz vocal" group 18 months ago at the Arts Presenters conference in New York. I caught their all-too-brief showcase and was given a short CD-ROM sampler of their music. I was told the album was "coming". Well, last month the postman delivered the finished product and even before I put the CD into my player I knew this was going to be cool. The cover of the jacket is an illustration by the great graphic artist, Jim Flora, whose art has graced many "cool" jazz Lps.

Slipping the disc in the player and pressing "play" got me off on the right foot. The quartet (2 males; 2 females) was singing an Ani DiFranco song meshed with a Herbie Hancock score played by a jazz quartet. Things slowed down (for the only time on the album) with the next track: The Dietz/Schwartz novelty tune "Rhode Island is Famous For You". Sung in the style of the Modernaires from the 1940s, its cute the first time but, once you've heard it the fun wears off. But soon we were back to winning performances, some with 3 or 4 musicians backing them (John Calloway's flute on the Cat Steven's song "Where Do The Children Play" is worthy of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson) or even better when just accompanied by bass and drums, allowing their voices to substitute for instruments.

There are "gems" everywhere here. A Hurricane Katrina song uses the Beatles' "She's so heavy" as a coda. Charlie Parker music gets words on "Anthropology". San Francisco hip is represented by Dave Frishberg's always entertaining "My Attorney Bernie" and the album ends on the 100% vocal version of the traditional "The Water is Wide".

If you are a fan of the Manhattan Transfer - which has been lying low lately - this one is right up your alley.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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Format: Audio CD
Truly, the above reprint from the liner notes of the comments of Richard Greene (executive producer and one of the creative forces behind "The Bobs") says about all that need be said about this c.d. But I will add more, because I am in awe:

This c.d. is flat-out sensational. It is the best vocal jazz ensemble c.d. of 2010. It's one of the best vocal jazz ensemble c.d.'s ever.

Normally, a recording that is this eclectic (everything from standard vocal jazz fare, such as "I Thought About You" and the little covered Dietz-Schwartz novelty, "Rhode Island Is Famous For You," to Radiohead's "Creep") portends a display of ego. In this case, however, everything is done so well that whatever ego that's on display is fully justified.

The cut that just knocks my socks off is track #8, "Pontchartrain." The song begins with Vienna Teng's hymnlike poem; but as the song morphs and builds, Dave Duran's arrangement turns into John Lennon's blistering "She's So Heavy" solo from Abbey Road, before returning to the hymn. Is this a case of the sacred meeting the profane, or do we have two separate sacraments going on here? You decide; but whichever, the effect is stunning.

And there's other stuff on this c.d. that is nearly that captivating. Consider Clockwork's treatment of Cat Stevens' (oh, all right; Yusef Islam's) "Where Do the Children Play," in a funky 7/4. Or Bird's "Anthropology," one of the very few ensemble vocalese of a bop or swing classic not penned by Jon Hendricks or King Pleasure (Walter Bishop, Sr., for the record). Or the blue-eyed soulful rendition of the Mann-Weil tune, "None of Us Are Free." Or the album opener, a meld of Ani DiFranco's "I Carry You Around" with Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon" (now, there's eclecticism for you!
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