Bobby McFerrin has a favorite word, one that comes up over and over again during the course of a recent interview with the singer. The word is “wonderful,” which he uses to describe so many things – fellow musicians, noted composers, responsive audiences, favorite songs, and any number of his collaborators. It seems that although he recently turned 60, McFerrin is still filled with a childlike sense of wonder.
His newest album, VOCAbuLarieS, on Decca, is his first in over eight years and features McFerrin with a large cast of singers, including Janis Siegel, Theo Bleckmann, Luciana Souza, Lisa Fischer and members of the New York Voices. There is minimal instrumental backing by percussionist Alex Acuna and saxophonist Donny McCaslin. The project was produced by composer and arranger Roger Treece who labored long and hard to recreate and rearrange McFerrin’s vocal improvisations with a cast of dozens.