A New Take on the History of Quartets: Take 6

A History of Singers:

Jubilee Quartets were popular African American religious musical groups. The name derives from a group named  the Fisk Jubilee Singers organized by George L White at Fisk University in 1871. They were known for singing negro spirituals. This tradition acted as a predecessor to early gospel styles. Their talent had been used to help with funding for various financial responsibilities. This was the start to a wave of quartets which continued to gain popularity. Their unique style of singing brought worldwide attention. 

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Who's Take 6?


Take 6 is an a cappella gospel sextet that had been formed in 1980. They’ve come a long way  from their experiences at Oakwood College in Huntsville Alabama. In 1980, Claude McKnight formed the group as “The Gentlemen’s Estates” Quartet. Shortly after, Mervyn Warren joined and they took the name “Alliance.” When they signed to Reprise Records/Warner Bros. in 1987, there was another group with the same name so they finally chose “Take 6.”


The group combines jazz with spiritual and inspirational lyrics to continue the legacy of their predecessors. They’ve won 10 Grammy Awards, 10 Dove awards, a Soul Train Award as well as 2 NAACP Image Awards. In April 2018, the group released their 16th album and debut of a PBS special The Summit. Take 6 has performed with and gained praise from Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Ben E. King, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Al Jarreau, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and Whitney Houston, just to name a very few.

“Take 6 was all about a democratic process of sitting in a room together and throwing a couple of hundred names at each other and Take 6 was the one that got the most yay votes [laughing.] It pretty much was a play on the Take 5 jazz standard and the fact that there are six of us in the group, so it became 

Take 6.” 


Take 6’s new spin on the history of male ensembles have taken the standards to a new level. Their harmonic melodies and pure tones when singing a cappella contribute to the group’s strength as a whole. It’s clear that these singers are truly gifted and deserve the recognition that they are receiving because of their new presence. 

Want to hear some of their work?

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