This 1986 completely improvised one-man show at the Aquarius Theatre in Los Angeles is the essence of Bobby McFerrin's magic. Using only his pliable voice and his body as percussion instrument, McFerrin lets his fertile im... more »agination and vast musical knowledge run in free-association overdrive, dipping into jazz tunes, arias and Beatle songs along the way. Wayne Shorter joins him for a duet on Miles Davis's "Walkin'". Added to this remarkable concert are the two videos that McFerrin made in support of his "Simple Pleasures" album, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and a tour-de-force "Good Lovin'". Total running time is 55 minutes.« less
This 1986 completely improvised one-man show at the Aquarius Theatre in Los Angeles is the essence of Bobby McFerrin's magic. Using only his pliable voice and his body as percussion instrument, McFerrin lets his fertile imagination and vast musical knowledge run in free-association overdrive, dipping into jazz tunes, arias and Beatle songs along the way. Wayne Shorter joins him for a duet on Miles Davis's "Walkin'". Added to this remarkable concert are the two videos that McFerrin made in support of his "Simple Pleasures" album, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and a tour-de-force "Good Lovin'". Total running time is 55 minutes.
"If you have to get only one Bobby McFerrin album, this is the one. The later _Simple Pleasures_ is slicker, more commercial, and better suited to a wider audience, but this disc showcases his vocal talents at their truest and best. Most of the cuts are live and unaccompanied, though there are three duets and a smashing rendition of "Another Night in Tunisia" with Manhattan Transfer (at least according to Amazon; on my original cassettes, that cut is on the _Simple Pleasures_ album).Duets with Herbie Hancock on piano and Wayne Shorter on soprano sax ("Turtle Shoes" and "Walkin' " respectively) are fine. The collaboration with Robin Williams, "Beverly Hills Blues," is just plain fun, as is the playful throwaway "Manana Iguana" (how did that ever make it onto the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" best-of collection?). McFerrin does another excellent cover of a Beatles tune whose pallid original would seem to have made it a poor choice, "From Me to You."But for me, the best cuts on this disc are the utterly infectious "Thinkin' About Your Body"; the sharp, bluesy rendition of Joan Armatrading's "Opportunity"; and "I Hear Music," the best McFerrin/audience collaboration on record (although I've heard and participated in much better examples, alas).Get this one for its musical artistry and sheer joy of life."
Just plain fun
David A. Beamer | Clawson, MI United States | 02/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When listening to this recording, you get the distinct understanding that there is nothing Bobby McFerrin would rather be doing that exactly what he is doing: amazing things with his voice that just tickle audiences. A few of the tracks here are live recordings, and a few are accompanied by another musician -- well, Robin Williams doesn't count as a musician, but "Beverly Hills Blues" is probably the most fun track here. It sounds like they were just making it up as they went along.As someone with "professional training" in singing, I am astounded at the things he does with his voice."
Bobby is in a class by himself on this album....
D. Pawl | Seattle | 06/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sigh, I long for the early days of Bobby McFerrin and this album reiterates that opinion for me. This is an unbelieveably beautiful, innovative, humorous, creative and unique little album that introduced Bobby to the world. This man who has the unusual talent/ability to sing two (count them, TWO) notes at one time, mimic virtually every musical instrument known, impersonate other famous singers, and come up with wonderfully catchy and innovative covers of well-known songs does not fail us on this CD! "Thinkin' About Your Body" kicks it all off. The whole time I listened to the song I tried to figure out how he could possibly provide not only all of the instrumentation using only his voice and body, as well as all of the vocalizations! It sounded like there were 20 Bobbys up there on stage and not just one! Amazing! The rest of the album featured the brilliant Bobby and some special guests who "dropped in." "Another Night in Tunisia" features The Manhatten Transfer. The hysterical "Beverly Hills Blues" features the wonderful Robin Williams. Check this wonderful, melodious album out. There is something for everybody, and it is lives up to its "Spontaneous" title."
Shane M. Kloppenburg | USA | 06/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From start to finish, this is Bobby McFerrin's finest release of the eighties! From the first track, "Thinkin' About Your Body", with its simple lyrics and wooderful tune, to the catchy closing track "Mañana Iguana", this album shows off Bobby's unmatched vocal (and other) talents. Besides playing with guest musicians on a few tracks ("Turtle Shoes" with Herbie Hancock, "Another Night In Tunisia" with Manhattan Transfer, "Walkin" with Wayne Shorter, and in an amusing appearance, Robin Williams in "Beverly Hills Blues), there's a cover of The Beatles "From Me To You" that even Beatles fans will like. If you're not a Bobby McFerrin fan, after the purchase of this album you will be!"
An essential recording of an essential artist
Rick Cornell | Reno, Nv USA | 01/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As time goes on, it becomes ever apparent that Bobby McFerrin was the best young jazz singer of the past 20 years; and classical music's gain is the jazz world's loss. My personal favorite of Mr. McFerrin's portfolio is "Medicine Music"; but for pure "chops", this is his "piece d'resistance." The thing that amazes me about him as a singer is that he must have about a 4 octave range; and it sounds like that's the case because he figured out how to free the restrictions brought on by his larynx. "From Me to You" sticks out in memory, as does his impromptu riff with Robin Williams on "Beverly Hills Blues." Highly recommended, not so much for the end product, but for the parts that make up the whole."