Bobby McFerrin: spirityouall

[22 May 2013]

By Neil Kelly

No one should ever dismiss Bobby McFerrin. It’s easy to forever associate him with the theme from The Cosby Show and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, but that disservices the listener far more than it does McFerrin. Yes, his innovation in the realm of a cappella is what he is best known for, but beyond the rhythmic body lies a voice so incredibly emotive. spirityouall is by all means a departure from jazz, and jazz in its truest sense ... interpretive reinvention. The instrumentation is deeply southern American, falling more in line with Cassandra Wilson’s best work. Speaking of best work, McFerrin’s voice has never sounded more confident. Any lover of organic music will find McFerrin’s newest exploration honest and captivating. Esperanza Spalding guests on many tracks, providing spirited accompaniment, especially on “Swing Low” and “Whole World”. The real masterwork on spirityouall is the re-interpretation of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”, blending a new vocal melody into a lush arrangement anchored by electric piano and pedal steel, making it truly a work of art – the song and the album. One of the best releases of 2013, so far.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/171467-bobby-mcferrin-spirityouall/