Bobby McFerrin: Spirit You All

Album title:
Bobby McFerrin: Spirit You All
Composer(s):
Bobby McFerrin
Works:
Spirit You All
Performer:
Bobby McFerrin (vocals), Esperenza Spalding, Larry Grenadier (bass), Larry Campbell (guitar), Gil Goldstein (keyboards, accordion), Ali Jackson, Charley Drayton (drums), etc
Label:
Sony
Catalogue Number:
88883718382
Performance:
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Recording:
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4
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine
Bobby McFerrin: Spirit You All

 

For this project, the chameleon-like vocalist Bobby McFerrin has drawn together some exemplary jazz talent, notably bassists Esperenza Spalding and Larry Grenadier, for an album that takes traditional African-American spirituals as its focus. It is also a heartfelt homage to his father, baritone Robert McFerrin, the first African-American to sing a title role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The disc opens with ‘Every Time’, a tune that McFerrin Senior recorded in 1957.

The spirituals benefit from Bobby McFerrin’s trademark multi-layering vocal techniques and originality. And Spalding’s vocals blend serenely on ‘Swing Low’ and ‘Glory’. In the latter, McFerrin’s percussive vocals expertly shift the tune up a gear, as it morphs into a high-paced gospel celebration. The tracks with Grenadier are equally rewarding; on a stunning version of ‘Joshua’, McFerrin shows his vocal skills over a bluesy groove, and demonstrates why he is one of the greatest vocal improvisers.

Neil McKim