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Bobby McFerrin: Spontaneous Inventions

The phase “improvising vocalist” more accurately describes Bobby McFerrin than the term “jazz singer.” From his uncanny ability to imitate instruments to his fluidity with lyrics, charisma on stage and rhythmic skills, McFerrin is a dominant performer. This live set, taped in 1986 at the Aquarius Theatre in Los Angeles, highlights his idiomatic versatility and shows the attraction of his vocal leaps, dips, melodic twists and textures.

McFerrin covers bop, folk, rock, pop, children’s songs and funk tunes during this wide-ranging concert, sometimes sounding serene and sentimental, other times flamboyant, edgy or humorous. Wayne Shorter adds a spry soprano sax solo to “Walkin’,” but it’s Bobby McFerrin’s vocal and verbal adventures that make this DVD a treat, despite the inclusion of the tiresome “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” video among disc’s bonus tracks.

Originally Published