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Gospel with a jazz twist

Staff Reports

A contemporary Christian a cappella group covering the Doobie Brothers, Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder? These sure are twisted times.But it might be that twist the contemporary gospel sextet Take 6 puts on its most recent CD and tour, &quotBeautiful World&quot, that brings these vocalists a little bit closer to secular Vail Valley audiences.&quotNot too many contemporary Christian groups do this,&quot Take 6 publicist Erma Byrd says of the group’s wide range of musical genres.That range of music Take 6 offers will come to the stage of the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek Nov. 30. And Byrd says there really haven’t been too many music fans who don’t connect with the six men and their range of music.&quotTheir sound has been played on different charts,&quot Byrd says.Charts like jazz, pop and R&B have caught on to this a cappella sound that Byrd emphasizes was picked up by contemporary jazz greats, bringing this God-fearing group of men a fan base with jazz magazine Downbeat. Take 6 has won four consecutive Downbeat Magazine awards.&quotWhat they’re doing is lyrically-based gospel,&quot says Byrd. &quotBut because of their six-part harmony there is a jazz taste to it.&quotTheir taste of jazz has brought them to the table with top performers and producers.&quotWhen they first came out (in the 1980s), the jazz community really embraced them. In fact, they opened for Al Jarreau,&quot Byrd says. &quotThen Quincy Jones coupled them with Ella Fitzgerald.&quotThe group has also managed to bring home gospel music’s top honors, the Dove, five times, and the music industry’s granddaddy of awards, the Grammy, seven times.Twisting the fate of gospel music by hitting the more secular pop covers on their most recent CD and tour should not be much of a leap of faith for fans and Vail Valley concert-goers. The men have hand-picked songs ranging from ’70s Doobie Brothers hit &quotTaking it to the Streets&quot to the soulful sound of Curtis Mayfield because these songs have a common thread.&quotThey selected songs that are encouraging and uplifting,&quot Byrd says. &quotIt’s something everyone can relate to. The message of the music is embracing and encouraging. It’s promoting love and what they believe in.&quotFor their &quotBeautiful World&quot tour – the sextet heads to Europe from the Vilar – Take 6 will be mixing instrumental sounds with their a cappella standards. Each man is known for his unique ability to use his voice to represent a particular instrument.&quotAnd in the concert you’ll actually see them play the instruments their voice represents,&quot Byrd says.Take 6 takes the stage at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30. Call (970) 845-TIXS.


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