Take Six - The Grammy Winning Jubilee Sextet

Where did Jubilee singing come from ?

  • Jubilee singing originated from Fisk University where students formed a vocal group that would sing negro spirituals and practice a style of music called “Flatfooted” singing.

  • The name Jubilee came from the “Jewish year of Jubilee” mentioned in the book of Leviticus in the Bible. Every 50th year of Pentecost is when all slaves would be free which felt best suited for the students since their family consisted of recently freed slaves.

Take Six was an acapella jubilee sextext formed soon after the gospel period of jubilee singing ended in 1969. Formed in 1980, six group of men came together from Huntsville Alabama Oakwood College and began singing and performing at local shows in Alabama.

 Styles of Singing

 In this song “Get Away,Jordan” you can hear a lot of different switching and melismas (commonly called riffs) between notes and this case  blue notes were used very often and you can hear a lot of similar melodies from common jazz artists in addition to that. Double Leads were often used also by the three tenors of the group Claude,Joel and Mark in contrast with the baritone and deep bass sung by Khristian and Alvin. This was done to hear the definition in each part of the song, in this selection you hear the tenor whenever they sing “I wanna cross over to see my Lord”.

Although Take Six was an acapella group they often utilized their Bass singer Alvin to mimic the sound of a bass guitar or a double bass stringed instrument in a walking/pumping bass form which gave off the illusion that they were using actual instruments.Using their voices in this way gave Take Six an element to their singing that not many acapella jubilee singers could replicate. In the song “So Cool” if you listen closely behind the singing and the melodies you will hear Alvin singing bass which if you didn’t know that they were acapella you’d think this sound was being produced by a bass guitar.


  • Take Six is the most awarded acapella group in history

  • They were the first musical group to perform in Cuba at the normalization of relations between our two countries

  • They went through a couple of different names such as The Gentlemans Estate’s Quartet, Alliance then finally Take 6 which derived from the Take 5 jazz standard .

  • Each of them members pursued different passions while in the group such as acting, voice overs for tv shows and documentary making.

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