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Take 6
Take 6 performs at the White House.jpg
Take 6 performs for U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush during a Black Music Month celebration at the White House on June 30, 2001
Background information
Origin Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Instruments Voice (vocal bass, vocal percussion, mouth trumpet)
Years active 1987–present
Labels Warner Brothers, Take 6, Heads Up International
Associated acts Stevie Wonder
  • Alvin Chea
  • Khristian Dentley
  • Joey Kibble
  • Mark Kibble
  • Claude V. McKnight III
  • David Thomas
Past members

Take 6 is an American a cappella gospel music sextet formed in 1980 on the campus of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama.[1] The group sings contemporary R&B style, integrating jazz influences with spiritual or inspirational lyrics. They have ten Grammy wins (in several categories in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, and 2002), as well as ten Dove Awards, one Soul Train Award and two NAACP Image Award nominations. They have collaborated with other artists such as Ray Charles, Nnenna Freelon, Gordon Goodwin, Don Henley, Whitney Houston, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, k.d. lang, Queen Latifah, Brian McKnight, Luis Miguel, Marcus Miller, Joe Sample, Ben Tankard, CeCe Winans, The Manhattan Transfer, and Stevie Wonder.

Group biography

Oakwood College years

In 1980, Claude McKnight (older brother of R&B musician Brian McKnight) formed an a cappella quartet, The Gentlemen's Estates Quartet, at Oakwood College (now Oakwood University), a Seventh-day Adventist university in Huntsville, Alabama, where he was a freshman. He auditioned fellow students for the hobby group. The Gentlemen were rehearsing in a campus bathroom (later said to be in Moran Hall), getting ready for a performance, when Mark Kibble heard them singing. He joined the harmonizing, adding a fifth part, and ended up singing with them onstage that very night.[2] Mark later invited Mervyn Warren to join the group. The group performed under the moniker Alliance.

The group performed in local churches and on campus over the next years, with members changing due to college's inevitable comings and goings. In 1985, the lower half of the group (bass, baritone, and second tenor) left upon graduating. At that time, Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, and David Thomas joined.

Music career

The group was signed to Warner Brothers in 1987, and quickly changed its name to Take 6 after a name search revealed Alliance was in use. Their eponymous debut album, released in 1988, won them two Grammy Awards and resulted in top ten appearances on both the Billboard Contemporary Jazz and Contemporary Christian Charts. Their swinging, harmony-rich sound attracted much attention; the group went on to record or appear with a number of luminaries, including Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, and Stevie Wonder, to name a few. They recorded for the soundtracks of Dick Tracy, Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood, and the theme song to the TV series Martin. They earned performances on Saturday Night Live, the 72nd Academy Awards, and the Grammys, and have had the honor of performing for four U.S. sitting Presidents, including the Democratic National Convention.[citation needed]

The group regularly featured on the 1990 Victor Lewis-Smith show on the BBC's Radio 1.[citation needed]

In 1991, after the release of their second album, So Much 2 Say, Mervyn Warren left the group to pursue a career as a producer. Joey Kibble, Mark's younger brother, was invited to round out the vocal lineup. The group added instrumentation to their purely a cappella sound beginning with the record, He Is Christmas. Join The Band and Brothers continued their Grammy streak. Take 6's 1998 release, So Cool, saw the group return to its a cappella origins.[citation needed]

In 2006 the group launched Take 6 Records; Feels Good the first album on their new label, was released the same year.[citation needed]

In 2007, they recorded a duet with Eros Ramazzotti in his CD ("Eros al quadrato") singing backing vocals to the song "Un attimo di pace".[citation needed]

In 2008, Take 6 released The Standard, which was a first time voyage for the group into a more traditional Jazz repertoire. The Standard, a critically hailed success, garnered three more Grammy nominations providing them the distinct honor of being the most Grammy nominated vocal group in history.[citation needed]

The group's home-base is Nashville, Tennessee, with two members residing in Los Angeles.[3] All original members grew up Seventh-day Adventist.[1]

In 2016, Take 6 released Believe with record label, Sono Recording Group. The album, produced by Claude Villani and Ross Vannelli, charted in six categories on Billboard within its first two weeks of being released.[4]

In 2018, Take 6 released Iconic again with SoNo Recording Group. Produced and arranged by Take 6, the album became the group's first release to chart at No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart.[citation needed] The first single, the Eric Clapton classic "Change the World", premiered on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Song chart in the top 30.[citation needed] The second single, the Christopher Cross classic "Sailing", was remixed by producer Tim Kelley, Director of A&R for the SRG/ILS Group.[citation needed]


  • Claude V. McKnight III - first tenor (1980–present)
  • Mark Kibble - first tenor (1980–present)
  • David Thomas - second tenor (1985–present)
  • Alvin Chea  - vocal bass (1985–present)
  • Joey Kibble  - second tenor (1991–present)
  • Khristian Dentley  - baritone (2011–present)


  • Mervyn Warren  - second tenor (1980–91)
  • Cedric Dent  - baritone (1985–2011)


Album releases

Year Album US US
Label Certification(s)
1988 Take 6 71 41 3 8 Warner Brothers
  • US: Platinum
1990 So Much 2 Say 72 22 8 2
1991 He Is Christmas   (Christmas) 100 84
1994 Join the Band 86 17 17
  • US: Gold
1995 Best of Take 6   (compilation)
1996 Brothers 71
1998 So Cool 92 8
1999 Greatest Hits   (compilation) 22
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
2000 Tonight: Live   (Live)
Best of Take 6   (compilation re-release)
2002 Beautiful World 14
2006 Feels Good 10 Take 6 Records
2008 The Standard 6 2 Heads Up International
2010 The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
70 40
2012 One 15 Shanachie
2016 Believe 25 9 2 Sono Recording Group
2018 Iconic 9 1
"–" denotes that a release did not chart


  • 1988: "Spread Love" (Reprise)
  • 1988: "David & Goliath" (Reprise)
  • 1988: "Milky-White Way" (Reprise)
  • 1988: "Gold Mine" (Take 6)
  • 1988: "A Quiet Place"
  • 1990: "I L-O-V-E U" (Reprise) (No. 19 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks[5])
  • 1990: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (Reprise)
  • 1990: "Ridin' the Rails" (k.d. lang & Take 6) (Sire)
  • 1991: "Where Do the Children Play"
  • 1991: "I Believe"
  • 1994: "Biggest Part of Me" (No. 36 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks[5])
  • 1994: "All I Need (Is a Chance)"
  • 1995: "You Can Never Ask Too Much"
  • 1997: "You Don't Have to Be Afraid"
  • 1999: "One and the Same (featuring CeCe Winans)" (Reprise)
  • 2002: "Takin' It to the Streets"
  • 2006: "Come On" (Take 6)
  • 2006: "More Than Ever" (Take 6)
  • 2006: "Comes Love" (with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band) (XXL)
  • 2006: "It's Alright With Me" (with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band) (XXL)
  • 2006: "It Was a Very Good Year" (with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band) (The Phat Pack)
  • 2011: "Never Enough" (with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band) (That's How We Roll)
  • 2012: "(It Only Takes) One"
  • 2015: "When Angels Cry"

Video releases

Year Title Label Notes
1992 All Access Warner Reprise VHS
2009 Michael McDonald – A Tribute to Motown [Live] E1 Entertainment Guest

Awards and nominations

Grammy Award

Year Category Title Result
1988 Best Soul Gospel Performance – Duo, Group, Choir or Chorus Take 6 Won
1988 Best Jazz Vocal Performance – Duo or Group "Spread Love" Won
1988 Best Gospel Performance – Duo, Group, Choir or Chorus "The Savior Is Waiting" Won
1988 New Artist Nominated
1989 Best Jazz Vocal Performance – Duo or Group "Like the Whole World's Watching" Nominated
1990 Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album So Much 2 Say Won
1991 Best Jazz Vocal Performance He Is Christmas Won
1992 Best Jazz Vocal Performance "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" Nominated
1994 Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album Join the Band Won
1994 Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance - Duo or Group "Biggest Part of Me" Nominated
1995 Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance - Duo or Group "All I Need (Is a Chance)" Nominated
1996 Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) "When You Wish Upon a Star" Nominated
1996 Pop Vocal Group "When You Wish upon a Star" Nominated
1996 Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) "When You Wish Upon a Star" Nominated
1997 Contemporary Soul Gospel Album Brothers Won
1997 R&B Group Vocalist "You Don't Have to Be Afraid" Nominated
1999 Contemporary Soul Gospel Album So Cool Nominated
2002 Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year Beautiful World Nominated
2002 Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals "Love's In Need of Love Today" (with Stevie Wonder) Won
2003 Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) Comes Love (with Gordon Goodwin, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, and Brian McKnight) Nominated
2004 Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals "Moon River" (with Stevie Wonder) Nominated
2009 Best Gospel Performance "Shall We Gather At The River" Nominated
2009 Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) "Grace" Nominated
2009 Best Jazz Instrumental Solo "Seven Steps To Heaven" Nominated

GMA Dove Award wins

Year Category Title
1988 Contemporary Gospel Album Take 6
1988 Group of the Year
1988 Contemporary Gospel Song "If We Ever"
1988 New Artist of the Year
1990 Contemporary Gospel Song "I L-O-V-E You"
1990 Contemporary Gospel Album So Much 2 Say
1990 Contemporary Gospel Album He Is Christmas
1992 Contemporary Gospel Album Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration
1994 Contemporary Gospel Album Join the Band
1996 Special Event Album Tribute: The Songs of Andrae Crouch (various artists)


  1. ^ a b Ostling, Richard N. (March 20, 1989). "Religion: Evangelism And All That Jazz". TIME. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Take 6 Contemporary Christian A Cappella Group". Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  3. ^ Take 6 on Myspace
  4. ^ "Take 6 "Believe" scores big on the Billboard charts during debut week". Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Artist Biography by Richard S. Ginell. "Take 6 | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 

External links

This page was last edited on 16 July 2018, at 15:35
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