Biography of Bobby McFerrin (1950-VVVV)

American singer born in New York on March 11, 1950. He/She was born into a family closely related to the world of music, because he/she was the son of opera singers (Robert McFerrin and Sarah McFerrin, soprano, who taught singing at Fullerton College). They introduced him since he/she was very child in the world of classical music.

At age six he/she began his studies of piano, which alternated with clarinet (up to twelve) studies, music theory and flute at the Juilliard School. At the same time, between ten and twelve years it was part of the choir of a church, where played classical music and gospel. He/She then worked as a pianist and pianista-cantante in California and New Orleans, and there also formed his first group: Bobby Mac Jazz Quartet. In the years 1976-77, his association with the song was total, although he/she made some odd jobs as a pianist for the Shipstad & Johnson Ice Follies, while he/she continued his singing studies at Sacramento State University and the College of Norwalk. His progression continued in 1978, when he/she joined the Astral Project, in New Orleans, and a year later, in 1979, formed Duet with singer Jon Hendricks, in New York, with whom he/she then returned to collaborate on numerous occasions and came to participate in their albums. The year 1977 was, therefore, the year of submission of the young McFerrin as a soloist.

In 1980 he/she began professional McFerrin takeoff: we worked with Pharoah Sanders, with Wayne Shorter, and participated in the Festival of Hollywood Playboy. The following year it triumphed at the famous Newport Festival (New York); but it was his collaboration with the famous guitarist George Benson and his All Star giving him permanent fame. He/She participated in the festival of The Young Lions, and in the 1982 New York-Kool Jazz. In 1983 he/she began his collaboration in New Orleans with Tony Dagradi, in addition to directing his own trio in the city of San Francisco. It was a result of this experience when decided to act and record solo. Something, on the other hand, which has continued to do until today. He/She simultanesus his performances solo since then with the teaching, and led some vocal music workshops at universities in the United States. All this experience earned him to exercise after Professor of vocal improvisation.

In addition to his experience in solo, McFerrin worked from 1984 - both on recordings as live - with Chico Freeman, Glover Washinton Jr., acting the VSOP from Herbie Hancock or Manhattan Transfer. In 1986, also participated, in the soundtrack of Round Midnight - with the same title-theme, film directed by Frenchman Bertrand Tavernier and which was also attended by Dexter Gordon. In his records, however, contributions have been multiple: Victor Feldman, Jon Hendricks, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Robin Williams.

The style of McFerrin, unmistakable as well as unusual in the history of jazz, has become one of the most relevant male voices of the 20th century. Its wide tessitura (around seven octaves), as well as the plural of its Sonorous timbre, has proclaimed it privileged and unique voice. It is technically a melodious and warm voice of surprising and capable of a tremendous variety of tone tuning. In addition, should emphasize believed motives which adds to his long improvisations, learned surely counterpoint used by j. S. Bach. Know execute these extreme sounds simultaneously - masterfully assembled rhythm and melody - is precisely what has given this singer unthinkable versatility, regardless of whatever his interpretive style. It is has been heard him accompanying Manhattan Transfer running a very serious voice that comes with beating their breasts with the Palm of the hand, creating a whimsical sound at the same time that rotunda. Throaty, therefore, acquires an unusual relevance, as well as the use of the falsetto as the natural path of the scale. In short, if McFerrin is baritone, you can quickly mutate into a female soprano voice. The virtue of this singer is, precisely, to know to perfectly combine the two contrary tessituras. His style becomes a continuous improvisation, since very often it acts only on the stage.

We can speak, therefore innovation in technique applied by McFerrin to the history of the music vocal jazz. Their concerts, from 1984, a cappella - rarely invites to a piano or a saxophone accompany him spontaneously - are true jazz events. Audiences crowded, magnify the concerts of this singular singer who faces take to the stage with the only company of your microphone. From here, the most interesting thing that should be noted in Bobby McFerrin is taking her body as one instrument; It makes you "sound" and take advantage of all its rhythmic and sonic possibilities (beats in the chest, cheeks, head, etc.).

The Repertoire of Bobby McFerrin is, in turn, singular and heterogeneous. We find their own songs - such as his most famous "Don't Worry, Be happy" - standard parts-"Another night in Tunisia" (Gillespie), "Walkin'" (Carpenter), "Peace" (H. Silver) - known songs from the Beatles-"Blackbird" (Lennon/McCarney) - or well classical sheet music of Bach. We can speak of syncretism music when we refer to the music played by the great Bobby. If Bach draws you in an absolute manner, not discarded other influences such as Funk, soul, and even pop, as evidenced by the above mentioned theme-"Don't Worry, Be happy"-with which reached an international name and not just in the world of jazz. This success has been reflected in the award to the singer's two awards Grammy - 1985 and 1986-at the same time that the prize has been awarded to the best vocalist of jazz on two occasions, prize that he/she delivered the prestigious U.S. magazine Down Beat. In the year 1993, McFerrin collaborated on a project to celebrate the forty-centenary of the Modern Jazz Quartet group, whose collaboration came the album A Celebration.

Selected discography

Sorrow is not forever-love is (1982). Bobby McFerrin (1982). The show (1984). I feel good (1984).Tangents (1985). Spontaneous Inventions (1986). Round Midnight (1986). Simple pleasures (1988). A Celebration (1993). Bang! Zoom (1995)