Live reviews

Take 6 at Pizza Express Holborn (2022 EFG LJF

Take 6

(Pizza Express Holborn. 17 November 2022. Review by Lavender Sutton)

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Take 6. Photo by Tatiana Gorilovsky

Two Nights at an unusual location: the a cappella masters Take 6 brought their show to Holborn Pizza Express Live venue for 4 intimate concerts as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. Their first time back to Europe since before COVID, it was obvious that they were elated to be back doing what they love best. 

Take 6 have been working together since the ‘80’s, with very little change to their group. Only 2 members have joined at a later date. It’s clear from the get-go that the relationship between them all is tight-knit and rooted in their faith. The choir started as a university project at a Christian college in Alabama, USA and has since performed with everyone from Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder to Manhattan Transfer and Jacob Collier.

All 6 musicians have a ‘part’ that they play in the group, but they rotate round taking turns singing the melody. Each member took time to share a personal story or funny anecdote about their chosen piece and some particular highlights included the theme from the Thomas Crown Affair The Windmills In Your Mind, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo song Homeless and their arrangement of Wade in the Water which had most of the room joining in.

The whole concert was full of opportunities to interact with them – clapping, clicking, dancing, whooping and cheering – and while these aren’t particularly ‘British’ traits, these Southern Gentlemen did their very best to break down the ‘stiffness’ in the room. Even their funky rendition of Tchykovsky’s The Nutcracker – Sugar Plum Dance had the audience smiling.   

It’s been about 4 years since their last album release, Iconic, so the show showcased some of these songs, including the well known Eric Clapton song Change the World, Christopher Cross’s song Sailing and their take on the song Roof Garden, which they explained had nostalgic feelings for them as their first tour was with Al Jarreau and he would always end his concerts with this feel-good tune. 

The close harmonies of Take 6 are like nothing else out there. The Pentatonics might be a pop comparison and of course Jacob Collier could maybe pass as a 1-Man band version, but there’s no equating the sheer joy of sharing a room with these outstanding musicians. An absolute pleasure. 

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