Christmas can be a time for quiet reflection or loud partying. Of course, there's nothing wrong with doing both at once...
Mary Mary + Take 6City: Cerritos, CA
Venue: Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
Although they've been together for a few decades, Take 6 remain a unique outfit. There are other prominent a cappella acts, but none quite like this set of Alabama natives. Nothing compares to the group's six expert vocalists as they seamlessly transition between, jazz, soul, and funk, sometimes dividing into separate vocal and rhythm sections, and, at others, layering multiple harmonies across one another. Stepping to the stage, the group brings only microphones, a pitch pipe, and a few percussion instruments. With just these minimal elements, they magically create the full sound of both a band and choir. On this night, it was a little like the story of The Little Drummer Boy played out with human voices instead of drums. While Mary Mary would later transport the crowd to a Sunday morning Pentecostal church service that just happened to take place during Christmastime, Take 6 kicked things off with a bit of Christmas caroling. The group didn’t hesitate to get into the spirit, wishing the Southern California gathering a merry Christmas on their second song. Then they broke into “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” doo-wop style, followed by rousing renditions of “Hark! The Harold Angels Sing” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Take 6’s set-closing encore of “Mary” -- the traditional Black gospel song -- provided the perfect lead-in to Mary Mary’s gospel set. The song allowed the sextet’s singers to let loose and testify. While such individualism was a little out of place next to Take 6’s more altruistic approach, they had fun with it, preparing the audience for the beautiful ruckus Mary Mary had in store.