Music News

Deaf Download: 1986 University of Miami Vocal Ensemble Sings Coltrane While Diana Ross is Sippin' Sizzurp

The college vocal ensemble is a phenomenon both technically impressive and socially awkward.

Maybe I am just being judgemental. But who better to judge than some Joe Doe Jabrone in a Yale cardigan?

OK, enough with the stereotypes. Not all university vocal groups are frats crossed with barbershop quartets, and Glee is not aways wholly representative of the glee club.

Take, for example, this recording from a 1986 LP by the University of Miami Vocal Ensemble -- entitled, Citizens of the Universe -- in which they transform legendary saxophonist John Coltrane's runaway solos into crisply-and-swiftly articulated lyrics.

See also: Deaf Download: Interstellar Melody From 1976 UM Concert Jazz Band

Ten years later, and the UM Jazz Department is still looking toward the stars. I wonder what the instrumental groups were up to in 1986? Context would suggest they were playing some kind of fusion and that it either ripped like Miles at his most skeeted, or reeked like a white boy unsuccessfully playing that funky music.

But fusion doesn't really lend itself that obviously to a capella styling, however that is an experiment I would like to wholeheartedly endorse in the hopes that someone will transcribe Herbie Hancock's synth lines from Futureshock into lyrics.

The group's selection of, "Giant Steps," the title track from the album on which Coltrane-the-player began to assume the role of Coltrane-the-master-innovator, is certainly a deliberate throwback to post-bop formalist tomfoolery.

Howzabout a Friday bonus? You've earned it. Fill your bathtub with honey and slowly lower yourself into the goop. "What the fuck am I listening to?" You wonder aloud, though nobody else is there to see you submerged in honey or hear your inquiry.

This is a 33RPM rip of the 45RPM "I'm Coming Out" single from 1980, performed by Diana Ross, with additional pitch manipulation by producer Adames at 3DVHS in Miami, Florida. The delay was a happy accident.

And damn that shit is smoove.

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Matt Preira