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Top Customer Reviews
Seven years in the making, "Vocabularies" is certainly the most ambitious McFerrin project to date and may very well be his magnum opus. For it is on this album that virtually all of McFerrin's wide-ranging musical interests are brought together in perfect balance. In a way, all of McFerrin's prior output has led up to this moment, the realization of a lifetime of artistic achievement.
I have always felt that the one thing missing from McFerrin's writing was the ability to take his fresh ideas and fully develop them harmonically and compositionally. Fortunately for all of us, McFerrin has found the perfect collaborator in composer/arranger and conductor, Roger Treece, whose prodigious gifts give McFerrin's ideas the harmonic and developmental lift they so deserve. The two worked together closely, first gathering McFerrin's ideas from past albums, recorded improvisations etc, weaving them into substantial compositions that average about 10 minutes in length.
Each piece is a journey unto itself, in which African, Eastern European, jazz, Western classical, R&B and pop elements bump up against each other, blending and recombining in a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of harmony and rhythm.Read more ›
Listen to this album, but also make sure to watch clips of McFerrin's vocal improvisations on YouTube. Better yet, try to see him in concert. We saw his live performance last night in San Francisco, and it knocked our socks off. His musical improvisation reminds me a bit of Robin Williams playing the genie in Aladdin - the performance is eclectic, eccentric, surprising, joyous, virtuosic and beautiful. Kudos to McFerrin for finding his amazing voice, creating something entirely new, and moving us to pure ecstasy with his music.
We all know of artists who take a theme or motif that they have been working on and continue to refine and redefine it. This is what Bobby has done on this masterpiece. He took a few songs from earlier CDs and gave them an extended arrangement. Several of the songs start out with a certain theme and then go through several movements, as classical artisits used to do. We now live in an age where this type of long range artistic planning, in most current genres of music, is seldom orchestrated. We have lauded artists in the past for doing the same. Why should Bobby be knocked for bringing this type of artistry back.
I can understand how this can seem disconcerting to a lot of folks when you consider the fact that this is not classical music. I would not label every song on this album as jazz either. Despite my inability to give this type of music a label, I enjoyed the different moods each song took. When I listened to each piece without judgement, it put me in a calmer, more thoughtfull mood than most of the standard 3 and 4 minutes pop songs I listen to.
I applaud Bobby for doing what was in his heart. He has taken his love of arranging and his background as a jazz artist and combined them in this CD with little regard, thank goodness, for what type of music this CD would be labeled as. I think labels are overrated anyway. But this CD cannot be. This is a consummate artist expressing himself and I consider myself fortunate to have this CD in my collection.
PS: The lyrics are uplifting and hauntingly beautiful as well. Guidelines
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't think that I can offer an educated or truly informed review. I've never had any formal music training. Read morePublished 12 months ago by B. C. Welch
Bobby Mcferrin is just about my favorite artist and this is a really innovative, beautiful album.Published 19 months ago by Wendy W. Williams
I'd listen to Bobby do the phone book! The man's voice is a God given instrument.Published 21 months ago by A. R. Edwards
I really enjoyed it. He is a brilliant man. Now I am listening to it in my car every evening coming home from work. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Erica
Another magical vocal album by Bobby McFerrin, featuring many guest vocal accompanists. Sonic pleasure throughout this CD. I play it all the tePublished on May 11, 2014 by Bernard McGovern
We love most of Bobby Mcferrin's material (with the notable exception of Don't Worry, Be Happy). Unfortunately, this CD just didn't seem to have the same level of inventiveness as... Read morePublished on April 22, 2014 by Jack W. English
The only way I can describe this is that it's thick with music. I constantly return to hear it again. Satisfying and delightful.Published on March 29, 2014 by hrndnwmn