June 18, 1992 |
At the conclusion of a rambling, unsatisfying set at the Academy of Music on Tuesday, vocalist Bobby McFerrin used his sweetest little-girl falsetto to thank the crowd for letting him sing the songs he loves. Only one problem: What McFerrin performed could not, even by the most generous definition, be termed "songs. " He started his Mellon PSFS Jazz Festival show by imitating a two-measure conga pattern, and for an hour or so, that phrase became his primary organizational unit: He generated a stream of recurring shorthand ideas, mistakenly treating each as a broad theme brimming with portent.
September 26, 1986 |
Anything goes when Bobby McFerrin performs in concert - as he does Monday night at 9 at the Chestnut Cabaret. The "Robin Williams of jazz vocalizing" (and sometime opening act for the comedian), McFerrin has developed a genuinely original, incredibly entertaining technique for a capella singing that he calls "spontaneous improvisation. " Now he's a growling trumpet or a be-bop sax, bleeting a sassy counterpoint to his mouth-generated "walking" bass line. Now he's a high pitched female-sounding rhythm and blues singer, or a basso profundo opera singer; wailing a Beatles classic or winging through a be-bop or Brazilian style jam. Why, this one man band is even his own rhythm section - producing snappy percussive effects by slapping his chest, clicking his tongue, knocking his head or tapping his feet.
January 13, 1989 |
In case all the year-end "best-of" lists and words of praise weren't clear enough, the 31st annual Grammy Award nominations announced yesterday provided ample amplification: The last year in music belonged to newcomer Tracy Chapman. Chapman, whose eponymous debut LP has sold seven million copies worldwide, garnered six nominations from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences - for best new artist, best album, best song and best record for the single "Fast Car," best female pop performance (for the same song)
February 23, 1989 |
n the end, it was a question of the feelgood triumphing over the downbeat. At the 31st Annual Grammy Awards last night, Bobby McFerrin's carefree a cappella hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy" beat out Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," a bracing look at the cycles of inner-city poverty, for record and song of the year honors. McFerrin won four awards, three for "Don't Worry, Be Happy," and one for his jazz vocal performance on "Brothers," a song from Rob Wasserman's Duets album. Chapman won in three award categories: new artist, female pop vocalist (for the single "Fast Car")
June 22, 1990 |
During a recent telephone interview from his San Francisco home, Bobby McFerrin chatted amicably, if somewhat guardedly, about a variety of projects. The 40-year-old singer - winner of nine Grammys, including one for "Don't Worry, Be Happy" as the best record of 1988 - revealed that the Mellon Jazz Festival concert he and pianist Chick Corea will stage tonight at the Academy of Music will be completely spontaneous. He sang the praises of Voichestra, a new choral ensemble featuring himself and 10 other singers.
June 26, 1995 |
Almost no one aiming for a career conducting an orchestra would go around singing, "Don't worry, be happy. " The podium is a power pinnacle, often clouded with angst, paranoia, envies and lusts. Artur Rodzinski carried a pistol when he conducted; others go armed with acid tongues and iron grip. A few, however, approach the podium with Zen-like joy. The Buddhist Lawrence Leighton Smith is one. Another is Bobby McFerrin, who is famous for writing and performing the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy.
June 27, 1995 |
An overflow crowd endures recurring showers last night, but the nasty weather wasn't enough to keep fans from listening as Bobby McFerrin serves as guest conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center. A longtime popular jazz pianist and pop singer, he's best known for writing and performing the hit, "Don't Worry, Be Happy. " He took up conducting with his laid-back, casual style five years ago.
June 20, 1990 |
Philadelphia's Mellon Jazz Festival brought its mellifluous sounds to the Northeast during the weekend. The Butch Ballard All Stars played Saturday afternoon at Whitehall Commons, Torresdale and Wakeling Streets. Ballard, 71, who grew up in Frankford, has recorded with the likes of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He now plays free concerts in parks in the Northeast and lectures and performs for classes in public schools. The Mellon Jazz Festival continues with concerts, ranging from Bobby McFerrin to Mel Torme, around the city through Sunday
March 21, 1990 |
The 5th Mellon Jazz Festival will be presented June 15 through 24 at the Academy of Music and other area venues, it was announced today by the festival organization. Six Academy galas will run from June 18 to 24 and feature such jazz headliners as Miles Davis, George Benson, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette, Mel Torme, Cleo Laine, Billy Eckstine, Red Rodney, Jimmy Heath and Pat Metheny. The festival will be dedicated to a famous jazz musician with Philadelphia connections whose identity will be revealed at a news conference on April 18, along with details of the full range of festival activities, free and paid, and the participating artists.
March 21, 1990 |
Forget that this is only the second day of spring. If last week's record- breaking temperatures didn't convince you that summer will soon be here, this might: The headliners have been announced for this year's Mellon Jazz Festival concerts at the Academy of Music. Miles Davis, George Benson, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Red Rodney, Bobby McFerrin, Pat Metheny, McCoy Tyner and Cleo Laine will be among the performers to appear at eight academy events during the bash that runs from June 15 to June 24. Musicians to perform at smaller city venues and free Mellon events will be named by festival organizers on April 18. The Painted Bride Art Center already has announced that it will host a Mellon-sponsored klezmer concert by clarinetist Don Byron on June 16. In all, Mellon representatives say, there will be about 40 events under the Mellon banner.