16 November 2022
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Without question, Take 6 is one of the world’s premier soul
a cappella groups. The group evolved from a quartet in 1980, originally
inspired by founder member Claude Mcknight III. Though Mark Kibble
knew Claude McKnight from their church attendances in Buffalo, he
only joined the quartet after he over heard their rehearsals in
a bathroom prior to a stage performance.
After various personnel changes throughout the 1980’s the
group finally known as Take 6 (Claude V McKnight, Mark Kibble, Mervyn
Warren, Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent and David Thomas) signed to Warner/Reprise
1988 would see the release of their self-titled debut album, followed
by “So Much To Say” in 1990. Group member Mervyn Warren
left to concentrate on his production skills with Grammy award winning
quartet Manhattan Transfer, Sister Act II soundtrack and “Handel’s
Messiah: A Soulful Celebration” album. Warren’s place
was filled by Joey Kibble (Mark Kibble’s younger brother).
By now Take 6 album releases were certified either platinum or
gold, and by 1994 the group had completed two successful tours (including
a tour of Japan).
Take 6 have embraced the many changes in musical styles throughout
the years, and have managed to maintain their core gospel message.
Their music ‘and message’ has influenced many who have
followed in their footsteps as well as their contemporaries. To
date the group have won seven Grammy Awards and five Doves (Gospel
Music Awards). Other achievements include winning Best Jazz Vocal
Group honors in Downbeat’s Readers and Critics Poll for four
consecutive years, a Soul Train Music Award, BRE (Black Radio Exclusive)
Vocal Group Of the Year as well as many other musical and humanitarian
awards and acknowledgements.
Take 6 has recorded, or performed with an impressive array of artists,
including Stevie Wonder (Conversation Peace) Ella Fitzgerald, Quincy
Jones (Back On The Block & Q’s Jook Joint) Joe Sample
(Spellbound, “U Turn”) Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis, Al
Jarreau, Don Henley, James Taylor, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, K.d.
Lang, Queen Latifah, Branford Marsalis, Bebe & Cece Winans,
Patti Austin, Yellowjackets and Modern Jazz Quartet.
The sextet has also appeared on film soundtracks such as John Singleton’s
Boyz In The Hood, Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracey, David Mamet’s
Glengarry Glen Ross and Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing to
name a few.Each Take 6 member also takes time for individual projects,
such as album production. Alvin Chea, Claude V. Mcknight lll, David
Thomas, Mark & Joey Kibble have also completed animated voice-overs.
I first experienced the honeyed vocals of Take 6 within the expansive
poured concrete walls of the Barbican, in 2006. Back then I was
blown away by the ease at which Take 6 precise honeyed harmonies
effortlessly filled that venue. Somehow, Take 6 transformed the
venue into the most inviting intimate family living room. It was
also heart-warming to witness even the stiffest patron transform
into a lively and responsive being.
Take 6 are experienced and caring performers who aim to please.
Their warmth and togetherness(like their rich harmonies) has a natural
flow, which in turn allows the listener / viewer to relax and enjoy.
Take 6 could have sung the most obscure national anthems tonight;
the emotional response would have been the same. Though they did
not sing any of my favourites tonight, such as “Fly Away”
and “Mary” did distract or mar our well-deserved Take
The message is definitely in the music. You cannot help yourself
at a Take 6 concert. Join in, sing, and be positive. The message
Claude V. Mcknight III - vocals
Cedric Carl Dent - vocals
David Thomas – vocals
Mark Winston Kibble - vocals
Alvin Chea – vocals
Joey Kibble - vocals
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.