Take 6 is an American a cappella gospel music sextet formed in 1980 on the campus of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. The group sings contemporary R&B style, integrating jazz influences with spiritual or inspirational lyrics. They have ten Grammy wins (in several categories in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, and 2002), as well as ten Dove Awards, one Soul Train Award and two NAACP Image Award nominations. They have collaborated with other artists such as Ray Charles, Nnenna Freelon, Gordon Goodwin, Don Henley, Whitney Houston, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, k.d. lang, Queen Latifah, Brian McKnight, Luis Miguel, Marcus Miller, Joe Sample, Ben Tankard, CeCe Winans, The Manhattan Transfer, and Stevie Wonder.
Oakwood College years
In 1980, Claude McKnight (older brother of R&B musician Brian McKnight) formed an a cappella quartet, The Gentlemen's Estates Quartet, at Oakwood College (now Oakwood University), a Seventh-day Adventist university in Huntsville, Alabama, where he was a freshman. He auditioned fellow students for the hobby group. The Gentlemen were rehearsing in a campus bathroom (later said to be in Moran Hall), getting ready for a performance, when Mark Kibble heard them singing. He joined the harmonizing, adding a fifth part, and ended up singing with them onstage that very night. Mark later invited Mervyn Warren to join the group. The group performed under the moniker Alliance.
The group performed in local churches and on campus over the next years, with members changing due to college's inevitable comings and goings. In 1985, the lower half of the group (bass, baritone, and second tenor) left upon graduating. At that time, Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, and David Thomas joined.
The group was signed to Warner Brothers in 1987, and quickly changed its name to Take 6 after a name search revealed Alliance was in use. Their eponymous debut album, released in 1988, won them two Grammy Awards and resulted in top ten appearances on both the Billboard Contemporary Jazz and Contemporary Christian Charts. Their swinging, harmony-rich sound attracted much attention; the group went on to record or appear with a number of luminaries, including Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, and Stevie Wonder, to name a few. They recorded for the soundtracks of Dick Tracy, Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood, and the theme song to the TV series Martin. They earned performances on Saturday Night Live, the 72nd Academy Awards, and the Grammys, and have had the honor of performing for four U.S. sitting Presidents, including the Democratic National Convention.
The group regularly featured on the 1990 Victor Lewis-Smith show on the BBC's Radio 1.
In 1991, after the release of their second album, So Much 2 Say, Mervyn Warren left the group to pursue a career as a producer. Joey Kibble, Mark's younger brother, was invited to round out the vocal lineup. The group added instrumentation to their purely a cappella sound beginning with the record, He Is Christmas. Join The Band and Brothers continued their Grammy streak. Take 6's 1998 release, So Cool, brought the group back to its a cappella origins.
In 2006 the group launched Take 6 Records; Feels Good the first album on their new label, was released the same year.
In 2007, they recorded a duet with Eros Ramazzotti in his CD e² ("Eros al quadrato") singing backing vocals to the song "Un attimo di pace".
In 2008, Take 6 released The Standard, which was a first time voyage for the group into a more traditional Jazz repertoire. The Standard, a critically hailed success, garnered three more Grammy nominations providing them the distinct honor of being the most Grammy nominated vocal group in history.
The group's home-base is Nashville, Tennessee, with two members residing in Los Angeles. All original members grew up Seventh-day Adventist.
In 2016, Take 6 released Believe with record label, Sono Recording Group. The album, produced by Claude Villani and Ross Vannelli, charted in six categories on Billboard within its first two weeks of being released.
In 2018, Take 6 released Iconic again with SoNo Recording Group. Produced and arranged by Take 6, the album became the group's first release to chart at No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. The first single, the Eric Clapton classic "Change the World", premiered on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Song chart in the top 30. The second single, the Christopher Cross classic "Sailing", was remixed by producer Tim Kelley, Director of A&R for the SRG/ILS Group.
- Claude V. McKnight III - first tenor (1980–present)
- Mark Kibble - first tenor (1980–present)
- David Thomas - second tenor (1985–present)
- Alvin Chea - vocal bass (1985–present)
- Joey Kibble - second tenor (1991–present)
- Khristian Dentley - baritone (2011–present)
- Mervyn Warren - second tenor (1980–91)
- Cedric Dent - baritone (1985–2011)
|1988||Take 6||71||41||3||8||Warner Brothers||
|1990||So Much 2 Say||72||22||8||2|
|1991||He Is Christmas (Christmas)||100||84||–||–|
|1994||Join the Band||86||17||17||–||
|1995||Best of Take 6 (compilation)||–||–||–||–|
|1999||Greatest Hits (compilation)||–||–||22||–|
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
|2000||Tonight: Live (Live)||–||–||–||–|
|Best of Take 6 (compilation re-release)||–||–||–||–|
|2006||Feels Good||–||–||10||–||Take 6 Records|
|2008||The Standard||–||–||6||2||Heads Up International|
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
|2016||Believe||–||25||9||2||Sono Recording Group|
|"–" denotes that a release did not chart|
- 1988: "Spread Love" (Reprise)
- 1988: "David & Goliath" (Reprise)
- 1988: "Milky-White Way" (Reprise)
- 1988: "Gold Mine" (Take 6)
- 1988: "A Quiet Place"
- 1990: "I L-O-V-E U" (Reprise) (No. 19 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks)
- 1990: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (Reprise)
- 1990: "Ridin' the Rails" (k.d. lang & Take 6) (Sire)
- 1991: "Where Do the Children Play"
- 1991: "I Believe"
- 1994: "Biggest Part of Me" (No. 36 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks)
- 1994: "All I Need (Is a Chance)"
- 1995: "You Can Never Ask Too Much"
- 1997: "You Don't Have to Be Afraid"
- 1999: "One and the Same (featuring CeCe Winans)" (Reprise)
- 2002: "Takin' It to the Streets"
- 2006: "Come On" (Take 6)
- 2006: "More Than Ever" (Take 6)
- 2006: "Comes Love" (with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band) (XXL)
- 2006: "It's Alright With Me" (with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band) (XXL)
- 2006: "It Was a Very Good Year" (with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band) (The Phat Pack)
- 2011: "Never Enough" (with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band) (That's How We Roll)
- 2012: "(It Only Takes) One"
- 2015: "When Angels Cry"
|1992||All Access||Warner Reprise||VHS|
|2009||Michael McDonald – A Tribute to Motown [Live]||E1 Entertainment||Guest|
Awards and nominations
|1988||Best Soul Gospel Performance – Duo, Group, Choir or Chorus||Take 6||Won|
|1988||Best Jazz Vocal Performance – Duo or Group||"Spread Love"||Won|
|1988||Best Gospel Performance – Duo, Group, Choir or Chorus||"The Savior Is Waiting"||Won|
|1989||Best Jazz Vocal Performance – Duo or Group||"Like the Whole World's Watching"||Nominated|
|1990||Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album||So Much 2 Say||Won|
|1991||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||He Is Christmas||Won|
|1992||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||"I'm Always Chasing Rainbows"||Nominated|
|1994||Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album||Join the Band||Won|
|1994||Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance - Duo or Group||"Biggest Part of Me"||Nominated|
|1995||Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance - Duo or Group||"All I Need (Is a Chance)"||Nominated|
|1996||Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s)||"When You Wish Upon a Star"||Nominated|
|1996||Pop Vocal Group||"When You Wish upon a Star"||Nominated|
|1996||Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s)||"When You Wish Upon a Star"||Nominated|
|1997||Contemporary Soul Gospel Album||Brothers||Won|
|1997||R&B Group Vocalist||"You Don't Have to Be Afraid"||Nominated|
|1999||Contemporary Soul Gospel Album||So Cool||Nominated|
|2002||Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year||Beautiful World||Nominated|
|2002||Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals||"Love's In Need of Love Today" (with Stevie Wonder)||Won|
|2003||Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)||Comes Love (with Gordon Goodwin, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, and Brian McKnight)||Nominated|
|2004||Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals||"Moon River" (with Stevie Wonder)||Nominated|
|2009||Best Gospel Performance||"Shall We Gather At The River"||Nominated|
|2009||Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)||"Grace"||Nominated|
|2009||Best Jazz Instrumental Solo||"Seven Steps To Heaven"||Nominated|
GMA Dove Award wins
|1988||Contemporary Gospel Album||Take 6|
|1988||Group of the Year||—|
|1988||Contemporary Gospel Song||"If We Ever"|
|1988||New Artist of the Year||—|
|1990||Contemporary Gospel Song||"I L-O-V-E You"|
|1990||Contemporary Gospel Album||So Much 2 Say|
|1990||Contemporary Gospel Album||He Is Christmas|
|1992||Contemporary Gospel Album||Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration|
|1994||Contemporary Gospel Album||Join the Band|
|1996||Special Event Album||Tribute: The Songs of Andrae Crouch (various artists)|
- Ostling, Richard N. (March 20, 1989). "Religion: Evangelism And All That Jazz". TIME. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- "Take 6 Contemporary Christian A Cappella Group". Singers.com. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- Take 6 on Myspace
- "Take 6 "Believe" scores big on the Billboard charts during debut week". sonorecordinggroup.com. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
- Artist Biography by Richard S. Ginell. "Take 6 | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
- Official website
- Take 6 (Mark Kibble) 2011 Interview at Soulinterviews.com
- Take 6, Encyclopedia.com
- NAMM Oral History interview with Mark Kibble January 25, 2013
- NAMM Oral History Interview with Joey Kibble January 25, 2013
- NAMM Oral History Interview with Khristian Dentley (2013)
- NAMM Oral History Interview with Alvin Chea January 25, 2013
- NAMM Oral History Interview with Claude McKnight (2013)
- NAMM Oral History Interview with David Thomas (2013)