The ever-changing, ever-musical, ever-unpredictable Bobby McFerrin this week. From the 2004 Lugano Jazz Festival, recorded on July 10, 2004 by RAI Radio.
McFerrin is a hard one to pin down – and that’s a good thing. With widespread appeal crossing many genres and styles, Bobby McFerrin had an enormous pop hit in the 80s – has won over 9 Grammy Awards and has been Principle guest conductor with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as guest conducting The Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, The La Scala Orchestra and a growing list of others, he’s done an incredible amount to bring music and the love of it, no matter what kind it is, to the forefront of the world audience, while maintaining a strong, unflinching integrity to the spirit of music itself.
Nice work, if you can get it – and Bobby McFerrin has succeeded admirably at it all this time.
And in the mold very much akin to the work The Swingle Singers did in the 1950s and 1960s, and their earlier incarnation as The Blue Stars (Blossom Dearie‘s group in Paris), McFerrin pursues the spirit of group Vocal Jazz, with an Acapella ensemble in this concert from Lugano Italy. Founded in 1986, Voicestra has been a dream project of McFerrin’s, evolving over the years to become one of the best Vocal/Improvisational ensembles in the world today.
That it extends beyond the borders of Jazz into World and Gospel gives further testimony that Jazz, at its core, has always been a combination of those things too. And that Jazz embraces a lot of forms.
So, here is a richly satisfying set from one of true innovators of modern vocal art, recorded in concert during a legendary festival in Italy.
Good way to start a Sunday – good way to get ready for an unpredictable week.
Relax. It’s okay.