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Bobby McFerrin

Bobby McFerrin

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Don't Worry Be Happy Don't Worry Be Happy
I've Got a Feeling I've Got a Feeling
Thinkin' About Your Body Thinkin' About Your Body
Good Lovin' Good Lovin'

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Vocal virtuoso Bobby McFerrin ranks among the most distinctive and original singers in contemporary music -- equally adept in jazz, pop, and classical settings, his octave-jumping trademark style, with its rhythmic inhalations and stop-on-a-dime shifts from falsetto to deep bass notes often sounds like the work of at least two or three singers at once, while at the same time sounding quite unlike anyone else. The son of husband-and-wife classical singers, McFerrin was born in New York City on March 11, 1950, later studying piano at California State College at Sacramento and Cerritos College. After touring behind the Ice Follies, he performed with a series of cover bands, cabaret acts, and dance troupes before making his vocal debut in 1977. While living in New Orleans, he sang with the group Astral Projection before relocating to San Francisco. There he met legendary comedian Bill Cosby, who arranged for McFerrin to appear at the 1980 Playboy Jazz Festival.

A performance at the 1981 Kool Jazz Festival led to a contract with Elektra, and the following year, McFerrin issued his self-titled debut LP. With 1984's The Voice, he made jazz history, recording the first-ever solo vocal album (sans accompaniment or overdubbing) to be released on a major label. His Blue Note debut, Spontaneous Inventions, followed in 1985 and featured contributions from Herbie Hancock, the Manhattan Transfer (on the Grammy-winning "Another Night in Tunisia"), and comic Robin Williams; McFerrin also earned mainstream exposure through his unique performance of the theme song to the television hit The Cosby Show, as well as a number of commercial spots. With 1988's Simple Pleasures, he scored a chart-topping pop smash with "Don't Worry, Be Happy"; around that time, he also formed the ten-member a cappella group Voicestra, featured on 1990's Medicine Music.

With 1992's Hush, McFerrin shifted gears to team with acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma; the record remained on the Billboard Classical Crossover charts for over two years. The jazz release Play, a collaboration with pianist Chick Corea, appeared in 1992 as well. McFerrin returned to classical territory in 1995 with Paper Music, a collection of interpretations of works by Mozart, Bach, and Tchaikovsky recorded with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, (which he joined as Creative Chair a year prior). For 1996's Bang! Zoom he teamed with members of the Yellowjackets; a second collaboration with Corea, The Mozart Sessions, appeared later that same year. With 1997's Circlesongs, McFerrin returned to his roots, recording an entire album of improvised vocal performances. He then recorded a collaborative album of classical and jazz standards for Sony Music Special Products in 2001. It teamed him with such esteemed musicians as Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. A year later, Blue Note released his Beyond Words album, McFerrin's first work for the label in nearly a decade. It featured a band comprised of Chick Corea, Richard Bona, Omar Hakim, Cyro Baptista, and Gil Goldstein. Supported by a choir, McFerrin released VOCAbuLarieS in 2010. spirityouall, released in the spring of 2013, was a tribute to McFerrin's father, Robert McFerrin, whose 1957 album Deep River brought black spirituals into the world of high art.

-- Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

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1982Bobby McFerrin
1984The Voice
1986Spontaneous Inventions
1987Elephant's Child
1988Simple Pleasures
1990Play [with Chick Corea]
1990How the Rhino Got His Skin/How the Camel Got His Hump [told by Jack Nicholson]
1990Medicine Music
1992Hush [with Yo-Yo Ma]
1994Sorrow Is Not Forever
1995Paper Music
1995Bang! Zoom
1996The Mozart Sessions [with Chick Corea]
2001Mouth Music
2002Beyond Words
2009Live in Barcelona

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1982 Bobby McFerrin

01. Dance with Me
02. Feline
03. You've Really Got a Hold on Me
04. Moondance
05. All Feets Can Dance
06. Sightless Bird
07. Peace
08. Jubilee
09. Hallucinations
10. Chicken

1984 The Voice

01. Blackbird (Live Version)
02. The Jump (Live Version)
03. El Brujo (Live Version)
04. I Feel Good (Live Version)
05. I'm My Own Walkman (Live Version)
06. Music Box (Live Version)
07. Medley: Donna Lee/Big Top/We're In The Money (Live Version)
08. I'm Alone (Live Version)
09. T.J. (Live Version)
10. A-Train (Live Version)

1986 Spontaneous Inventions

01. Thinkin' About Your Body
02. Turtle Shoes
03. From Me To You
04. There Ya Go
05. Cara Mia
06. Another Night In Tunisia
07. Opportunity
08. Walkin'
09. I Hear Music
10. Beverly Hills Blues
11. Manana Iguana

1987 Elephant's Child

01. The Elephant's Child [with Jack Nicholson]
02. Kolo, Kolo, Kolo
03. The Elephant's Child Lullaby
04. Snake!
05. Fever Trees
06. Frisking and Wisking
07. The Crocodile Song
08. Just Playing Around
09. New Nose is Good News
10. All His Dear Families

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1988 Simple Pleasures

01. Don't Worry Be Happy
02. All I Want
03. Drive My Car
04. Simple Pleasures
05. Good Lovin'
06. Come To Me
07. Susie Q
08. Drive
09. Them Changes
10. Sunshine Of Your Love

1990 Play [with Chick Corea]

01. Spain (with Introduction) [Live]
02. Even For Me (Live)
03. Autumn Leaves (Live)
04. Blues Connotation (Live)
05. 'Round Midnight (Live)
06. Blue Bossa (Live)

1990 How the Rhino Got His Skin/How the Camel Got His Hump [told by Jack Nicholson]

01. Just So
02. How The Rhinoceros Got His Skin
03. Anantarivo
04. Humph!
05. How The Camel Got His Hump
06. Camel Dance
07. And Told The Man
08. When The World Was New
09. More Than Oriental Splendour
10. Amygdala
11. Djinn

1990 Medicine Music

01. Medicine Man
02. Baby
03. Yes, You
04. The Garden
05. Common Threads
06. Sweet in the Mornin'
07. Discipline
08. He Ran All the Way
09. Angry
10. The Train
11. Soma So De La De Sase
12. The 23rd Psalm

1992 Hush [with Yo-Yo Ma]

01. Grace
02. Andante from Concerto in D minor for two Mandolins (Vivaldi)
03. Flight of the Bumblebee (Rimsky-Korsakov)
04. Stars
05. Hush Little Baby
06. Vocalise (Rachmaninoff)
07. Musette (J.S. Bach)
08. Coyote
09. Allegro Prestissimo from Sonata for 2 Cellos (Barriere)
10. Ave Maria (Gounod/Bach)
11. Howdown!
12. Air from J.S. Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 (J.S. Bach)
13. Goodbye

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1994 Sorrow Is Not Forever

01. Spiral Dance
02. New York Polka
03. Conversations Junior
04. Stream
05. Meet You There
06. Chant for Five
07. Sorrow Is Not Forever - Love Is
08. That's Me

1995 Paper Music

01. Overture to The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart)
02. Menuet from String Quintet No. 1 in E Major, Op.13, No.3 (Boccherini)
03. Pavane (Faure)
04. Minuetto & Finale from Pulcinella Suite (Stravinsky)
05. Concerto in G minor for 2 Cellos, Strings and Continuo (Vivaldi)
06. Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61, No.1 (Mendelssohn)
07. First Movement from Concerto for Violin, Strings and Continuo in A minor (Bach)
08. Eine kleine Nachtmusic, K. 525 (Mozart)

1995 Bang! Zoom

01. Bang!Zoom
02. Remembrance
03. Selim
04. Freedom is a Voice
05. Friends
06. Heaven's Design
07. My Better Half
08. Kid's Toys
09. Mere Words

1996 The Mozart Sessions [with Chick Corea]

01. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.23 in A Major, K. 488
02. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
03. Song for Amadeus, Improvisation on Mozart's Sonata No. 2 in F Major K. 280/189e:II Adagio

1997 Circlesongs

01. Circlesong One
02. Circlesong Two
03. Circlesong Three
04. Circlesong Four
05. Circlesong Five
06. Circlesong Six
07. Circlesong Seven
08. Circlesong Eight

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2001 Mouth Music

01. Overture
02. Round Midnight, song
03. Song for Amadeus, improvisation for voice & piano (after Mozart's Sonata)
04. Pavane, for orchestra & chorus ad lib in F sharp minor, Op. 50
05. Minuet in A major, arrangement (after String Quintet in E major, Op.11
06. Circlesong 1
07. Circlesong 2
08. Hush, Little Baby
09. Flight Of The Bumblebee [From Legend of Tsar Saltan]
10. Hoedown!

2002 Beyond Words

01. Invocation
02. Kalimba Suite
03. A silken Road
04. Fertile Field
05. Dervishes
06. Ziggurat
07. Sisters
08. Circlings
09. Chanson
10. Windows
11. Marlowe
12. Mass
13. Pat & Joe
14. Taylor Made
15. A Piece, A Chord
16. Monks/The Shepherd

2009 Live in Barcelona

01. Improvisació 1
02. Improvisació 2
03. Improvisació 3
04. Smile
05. Ave Maria Sobre un Preludi de Johann Sebastian Bach
06. Drive My Car
07. Blackbird
08. Improvisació 5
09. La Filadora
10. Grace
11. Improvisació 6
12. Improvisació 7
13. Improvisació 8
14. Improvisació 9
15. Improvisació 10
16. Ària de la Suite No.3 en Re Major, BWV 1068

2010 VOCAbuLarieS

01. Baby
02. Say Ladeo
03. Wailers
04. Messages
05. The Garden
06. He Ran To The Train
07. Brief Eternity

2013 Spirityouall

01. everytime
02. swing low
03. joshua
04. fix me jesus
05. woe (words and music by Bobby McFerrin)
06. i shall be released (words and music by Bob Dylan)
07. whole world
08. gracious (words and music by Bobby McFerrin)
09. 25:15 (words and music by Bobby McFerrin)
10. wade
11. glory
12. jesus makes it good (words and music by Bobby McFerrin)
13. rest/yes, indeed (words and music by Bobby McFerrin)

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