On their latest release, this Tennessee-based sextet takes on several old-time jazz standards and adds a new dimension to the a cappella gospel ballads that have made the group famous for the past 15 years. A spirited rendition of "Sweet Georgia Brown" opens the disc impressively, and an exciting take on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" with guest Brian McKnight (the younger brother of Take 6 founder Claude McKnight) stands out as well. Among the most notable tracks is "Straighten Up and Fly Right," featuring vocals and guitar from jazz great George Benson, who sounds comfortable among a cappella singers. Surprisingly, Miles Davis' "Seven Steps to Heaven" gets the Take 6 treatment, and to enhance the tune, singer Al Jarreau and trumpeter Till Bronner are featured. Modern technology unites the immortal voice of a young Ella Fitzgerald with the group for "A Tisket a Tasket," one of the earliest recordings from the First Lady of Song (when she was still with Chick Webb's orchestra in the '30s). With all of these features, The Standard offers plenty to enjoy even if you're not a fan of gospel or a cappella recordings.
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