A cappella powerhouse Take 6 marks a new jazz vocal milestone with the September 30, 2008, release of The Standard (HUCD 3142). Winners of 10 GRAMMYÃ’ Awards, 10 Dove Awards, one Soul Train Award and two NAACP Image Award nominations, the influential sextet - Mark Kibble, Claude V. McKnight III, Dr. Cedric Dent, David Thomas, Alvin Chea and Joey Kibble - makes their debut on Heads Up International with a recording of mostly jazz (and some R&B) standards, including "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," "Someone To Watch Over Me," "What's Going On" and "Windmills of Your Mind."
The Standard showcases a new jazz-influenced approach for the group. "While we sing lyrics that always exemplify our spiritual and moral convictions, what we really are at the core is a jazz vocal group," says David Thomas, a member of the Take 6 lineup since 1985. "So we decided to do an album of jazz standards, a record that will stand up as the jazz vocal album for all time."
Take 6 co-founder Claude McKnight also stands behind the ambitious claim. "We go into every project saying it will be the best," he says. "At least the best we've ever done, and depending on the concept or the genre, it may be the best that's ever been done by anyone. When we take on a project or step into a new phase of our career, we're not afraid to say, â€˜Hey, let's move some mountains.'"
The Standard features guest appearances by veteran jazzmen George Benson, Al Jarreau, Jon Hendricks, Roy Hargrove, Till BrÃ¶nner and others, as well as R&B luminaries Aaron Neville and Brian McKnight (Claude's brother).
"We decided that, for any given song on this record, we would ask for the person who we thought would make the most sense for the song," says McKnight. "And everyone we asked said yes. We've never really had a problem reaching out and finding whomever it is we wanted. That's been a blessing for us."