Claude McKnight, Mark Kibble, Joey Kibble, Dave Thomas, Alvin Chea, Khristian Dentley
TAKE 6 is the most awarded a cappella group in history, with ten GRAMMYs, ten Dove Awards (Gospel Music Awards), Best Jazz Vocal Group honors for seven consecutive years in DownBeat’s prestigious Readers and Critics Poll, a Soul Train Music Award, BRE (Black Radio Exclusive) Vocal Group of the Year, two NAACP Image Award nominations, induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and countless other musical and humanitarian citations. From New York’s famed Blue Note to the Montreux Jazz Festival, from PBS to ABC-TV specials, they remain the quintessential and preeminent a capella group in the world, working harder than ever, and loving every minute of it.
TAKE 6 has come a long way from their days at Huntsville, Alabama’s Oakwood College where Claude McKnight formed the group as The Gentleman’s Estate Quartet in 1980. When tenor Mark Kibble heard the group rehearsing in the dorm bathroom, he joined in the harmonies and performed on stage with them that night. When they signed to Reprise Records/Warner Bros. in 1987, they found that there was another group with the same name as the second incarnation of the group, Alliance, so they became TAKE 6. Says McKnight: “TAKE 6 was all about a democratic process of throwing a couple of hundred names at each other and TAKE 6 was the one that got the most yay votes. It pretty much was a play on the “Take Five” jazz standard and the fact that there are six of us in the group.”
Redefining the standards for vocal music TAKE 6 has recorded and performed with an impressive array of talent including Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, Don Henley, James Taylor, k.d. lang, Patti Austin, Randy Travis, Queen Latifah, Sheryl Crow, Branford Marsalis and BeBe & CeCe Winans. They’ve performed on film soundtracks including Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood, Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy, David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, and the theme song to the TV series Martin.
Most recently, TAKE 6 was honored to be the first American vocal group to perform in Cuba since diplomatic relations were restored. A Public Diplomacy officer wrote after the concert “The group elicited a response I’ve yet to see many groups here do, and in some form helped to advance U.S. diplomacy and interests in ways that our formal process could not.”