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Take 6: One

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Technically this vocal group has been around since 1980, though they didn’t become Take 6 until 1987, when they signed with Warner Bros. and released their eponymous debut album. So this, their 14th release, marks their official 25th anniversary. Remarkably, even as the eldest members near their 50s, the genre-blurring vivacity that has earned them eight Grammys-with significantly more wins outside gospel categories than in-remains undimmed.

Though they’ve never ventured too far from their gospel roots (even The Standard, their 2008 visit to Tin Pan Alley, included “Seven Steps to Heaven” and “Shall We Gather at the River”), One is their first album in more than 20 years devoted exclusively to sacred music. Across several tracks the sextet colors strictly inside the lines, ceding control of “Can’t Imagine Love Without You” to guest vocalist Stevie Wonder while prettily trimming its edges, and keeping “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “Farther Along” and “Allelula” on simmer. Still, their sublime tightness shines through. More interesting and adventurous are “Down Here I’ve Done My Best,” an old-school hand-clapper of the first order, and “Glorious Day,” a wild, express-lane navigation of joy. But it is a dazzlingly variegated “Noah” that best demonstrates not only the group’s enduring verve but also the distinct sparkle of each member.

Originally Published