If you can, stop reading this review for just a few minutes, and put Cadence’s newest release Twenty for One in your player. Don’t read the liner notes, don’t go to their website to learn more about them, and don’t read ahead in this review.... just listen to the tracks.
OK, welcome back. Now, it isn’t rare to find a quartet where all members sing and all members play instruments. However, it isn’t every day that you find a quartet where the members use their voices, not only to sing, but as the instruments themselves. Four men, four microphones, no instruments. Cadence, and their Twenty for One release, is an eclectic collection of jazz tunes mixed in with pop classics and original compositions. All tracks are arranged and performed with Toronto’s celebrated a cappella group’s unique flawless signature style of swing.
Jazz arrangements are scattered throughout the disc. The first track, "Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps" was originally covered by Doris Day and more recently by such diverse singers as Geri Halliwell and the band Cake. The hip retro sound of this track showcases Ross Lynde on lead vocals and the other three members backing him up as instruments. It’s a great way to start off the disc. The next jazz classic on the disc is the Charles Mingus/Joni Mitchell composition "The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines." The trumpet solo by Dylan Bell is nothing short of amazing. Next up is "Hit That Jive Jack" which is Cadence’s tribute to Nat "King" Cole and features impressive scat solos by Bell, Lynde and Carl Berger.
The best opportunity to hear each member’s unique vocal qualities is on Paul Simon’s "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." Simon’s composition is mixed in with some other great pop classics. Beady Belle’s "Game" and "True Colours," made famous by Cindy Lauper, Phil Collins and Miles Davis show that pop classics can be given a jazzy feel as well. Rounding out the CD is the Queen ballad "The Things We Do For Love."
Cadence, in addition to their vocal abilities, also showcases their songwriting abilities. Bell composed "Don’t Fix What’s Broken" which showcases the trials and tribulations of love. "Sunshine," written by Cadence cohort Gillian Stecyk, has the perfect mood for sitting on a park bench watching the world walk by while basking in the sunshine of the afternoon. Berger’s composition, "The Perfect Kiss," is a simple ballad filled with that deep feeling of genuine love. The moody feel of "Blues on Sunday" was created by Bell and conveys the emotion of internal inertia and motivates the listener to never let life pass you by. Co-written by Stecyk and Kevin Fox "Sittin’ in the Cellar" has a funky groove that will definitely have you tapping your foot along to the beat.
Great harmonies, vocal percussion, scat sessions and some great "instrumental" work, this CD is an uplifting and entertaining release. There are a lot of different styles and genres covered by Cadence in Twenty for One. While not entirely comprised of jazz tunes this CD has to be heard to be believed. If you like the sounds of Bobby McFerrin or a cappella groups such as Take Six or Rockapella, then Cadence is definitely for you.