Bobby McFerrin - spirityouall (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz
Artist: Bobby McFerrin
Genre: Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Spirituals, Gospel
Label: © Sony Masterworks
Release Date: 2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Recorded: Avatar Recording, Shelter Island Sound.
Bobby McFerrin surprises us again, bringing it all back home with his new album, spirityouall. Now Bobby invites us to sit on the stoop awhile and listen as he throws some unexpected new ingredients into the melting pot and reinvents Americana. He invites us back to the great folk tradition of lifting our voices to sing together through life’s trials and triumphs.
spirityouall features beloved familiar tunes like “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” and “Every Time I Feel The Spirit” alongside original songs which explore Bobby’s everyday search for grace, wisdom, and freedom. The new material ranges from a celebratory hoedown (“Rest”) to a polemic anthem (“Woe”), to a down and dirty blues setting of Psalm 25:15. This project embraces Bobby’s folk, rock, and blues influences without abandoning his fearless improvisational approach or his never-ending exploration of the human voice. He moves seamlessly between lyrics and wordless lines, trading phrases with his band, inviting the audience to sing along. Bobby loves to sing this music, and it shows: spirityouall raises the roof with joyful grooves.
spirityouall continues Bobby’s life-long quest to integrate all the influences of the musical universe. But as in so many great American tales, sometimes it turns out that everything one is searching for is in one’s own backyard. The project honors the legacy of Bobby’s father, the great operatic baritone Robert McFerrin, Sr., the first African-American to sign a contract with the Metropolitan Opera Company and a renowned interpreter of the American Negro Spiritual. ” I always thought that someday I’d sing these songs,” Bobby says, “and that I’d have to find a way of doing it that was completely different from my father’s approach. I think the idea has been kicking around for at least a couple of decades. And it was finally time.”
Three of the traditional numbers featured on spirityouall —the opening track “Every Time I Feel the Spirit,” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and “Fix Me Jesus”—also appeared on the senior McFerrin’s 1957 album Deep River, but similarities end there. The spirituals are about liberation and courage, the human condition, the pioneering spirit, the search for strength in the face of adversity, and the journey toward a better place, and Bobby’s versions reach for new territory.
spirityouall is a deeply personal statement for Bobby McFerrin. “I couldn’t do anything without faith,” he says. “I couldn’t open up my eyes, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t sing. What I want everyone to experience at the end of my concerts is . . . .this sense of rejoicing. I don’t want the audience to be blown away by what I do, I want them to have this sense of real joy, from the depths of their being. Then you open up a place where grace can come in.” Lift your voice, open your heart, and sing along.
Bobby McFerrin will always be remembered for his 1988 omnipresent hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy," which is fine, really, because that song perfectly reflects McFerrin's belief that music should calm, heal, soothe, and redeem, and all of his recorded work before and after that breakaway hit fits right in line with that philosophy. On spirityouall, McFerrin centers things around black spirituals, a genre he sees as at the epicenter of American music, full of a kind of musical strength that puts joy, persistence, redemption, and a belief in personal and collective freedom up against the horrors, pressures, marginalization, and pure evil the world can generate in our lives. The album is also a tribute to his father, Robert McFerrin, whose 1957 album Deep River brought black spirituals into the world of the concert hall and high art, and like that groundbreaking release, this album opens with the same song, an easy rolling "Everytime." In all, there are seven traditional spirituals here, including "Joshua" (full of McFerrin's jazzy scat singing), a joyous and syncopated "Whole World," and the pulsing, nuanced, and flowing "Wade," alongside an intimate cover of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" and five McFerrin originals, and the whole sequence adds up to the audio version of a warm comforter blanket. By the time the closing track, "Rest/Yes, Indeed," a two-step spiritual hoedown, rolls in, the world seems not only bearable but better in all dimensions. Music can soothe the savage soul, goes the old adage. McFerrin believes it does even more than that, providing a bridge and a gateway to joy and redemption in a world that all too often seems to want to sweep all of our souls over a cliff. On spirityouall, McFerrin does what he has always done as an artist -- he makes this troubled world shine bright as a diamond. --AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau and Jon Hendricks are the most innovative jazz voices of the past 50 years. Our current subject, McFerrin, took the technical capabilities of the human voice, remolding them into the fantastic and delightful forms we recognise as his genius today. spirityouall is McFerrin's celebration of both his father, Robert McFerrin, Sr., the first African-American to sign a contract with the Metropolitan Opera Company and the American musical vernacular called the Spiritual.
McFerrin's father was also an historic interpreter of the American Negro Spiritual, having recorded "Deep River" and Other Classic Negro Spirituals in 1957 (which is curiously unavailable digitally or as a compact disc). The younger McFerrin resculpts three timeless pieces that appeared also on his father's release—"Every time I Feel the Spirit," "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and "Fix Me Jesus"— making these time-tested songs shine like liquid mercury exploding. McFerrin takes old songs and new originals, even a Dylan tune, melding them in the organic fashion of 1990s Cassandra Wilson, only completing Wilson's evolution in concept and execution. This is fully realized music.
First, no song is allowed a "standard" treatment. No, not one of the thirteen songs here. McFerrin digs in the Delta Dirt with guitarist Larry Campbell's talents with dobro, slide guitar, steel guitar conjuring blues and deep country mojo on "Fix Me Jesus," "Whole World" and an Eddie Son House "Death Letter" stomp on the singer's original take on Psalms, "25:15:" Blind Willie Johnson meets Tommy Johnson at the crossroads of canned heat and the Yazoo river. McFerrin transforms "Wade in the Water" into a steel-guitar rag jazz piece quite unlike anything else. Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" has never been so transformed, sounding like it belongs to McFerrin and his father's spirit.
The riches that make up spirityouall cannot be overestimated. McFerrin is well-inspired and supported on this disc, where he really does something both unique and special. This is music that heals. --All About Jazz Review by C. Michael Bailey
1. Everytime 03:22
2. Swing Low 04:11
3. Joshua 04:04
4. Fix Me Jesus 04:19
5. Woe 03:39
6. I Shall Be Released 04:39
7. Whole World 03:40
8. Gracious 02:40
9. 25:15 03:58
10. Wade 03:25
11. Glory 05:17
12. Jesus Makes It Good 04:10
13. Rest / Yes Indeed 04:45
Bobby McFerrin: vocals
Esperanza Spalding: bass, vocals (1, 2, 7, 11, 13)
Larry Campbell: guitars
Gil Goldstein: keyboards
Charley Drayton: drums (1, 2, 7, 11, 13)
Ali Jackson: drums (3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13)
Larry Grenadier: bass (3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12)
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