Bobby McFerrin – Beyond Words
(Blue Note – 2002)
by Carmen Miller
Bobby McFerrin’s new CD Beyond Words is just that. Teamed up with piano great Chick Corea, drummer Omar Hakim, flautist Keith Underwood and his son Taylor McFerrin on beatbox I expected this to be a rollicking ride through a realm of percussive possibilities and resonances. What I got was an experiment in airy, fluffy, light, well, airy-ness; and unfortunately I’m not really a big Yanni fan. I am not sure where Bobby is going with this but I seem to have gotten a little lost along the way. Perhaps teaming up with Chick Corea took some of the pressure off, causing McFerrin to fall into Corea’s ‘mold’ instead of adding Corea to the McFerrin mix.
The compositions are pretty, McFerrin and Corea playing off of one another beautifully, but we’ve already got Al Jarreaufor that. I think McFerrin is venturing more into natural language and chanting here which will appeal to a large audience, but not to the audience that got him noticed in the first place. If you like Yanni, or some of Chick’s more esoteric recordings then this CD is for you.