You Say It's Your Birthday: Cedric Dent of Take 6

Today is the 35th birthday of Take 6 baritone Cedric Dent. Take 6's jazz

styled a capella gospel songs have received great critical acclaim and were

responsible for a renewed interest in a capella do-wop music in the late

'80s. Dent was born in Detroit, Mich. and started playing piano at the age

of six. He made his music education a priority, and he continued learning until he earned a doctorate in music theory from the University of Maryland. He first joined Take 6 when the group, known previously as the Gentlemen's Estate Quartet, Sounds of Distinction and Alliance, went through a major line-up change in 1987. Later that year, Take 6 arranged a showcase for 30 gospel record company representatives at a Christian bookstore in Nashville. A Warner

Bros. representative met the group there and quickly signed them, also

arranging a separate distribution deal with Reunion Records to get their

album into Christian book and record stores.

Their debut, 1988's Take 6 was completely a cappella and featured

new adaptations of Negro spirituals along with a few original

compositions. The album's single, "Spread Love," went gold and earned the

group two Grammys. 1990's So Much 2 Say combined the group's vocal

virtuosity with a lot of studio wizardry, such as sampling and layering

tracks. Later that year, the group sang with k.d. lang on "Riding the

Rails" from the Dick Tracy Soundtrack. 1991's He Is

Christmas was, with a few exceptions, a return to the all a capella

format. Their fourth album, 1994's Join The Band was a big departure

for the group, with most of the songs being accompanied by a band. The

album boasts an array of guest stars, including Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles,

and Queen Latifah. Take 6 continued on with their new accompanied sound on

last year's Brothers, an album which emphasized songwriting and the

solo voices, while the group as a whole generally provided only backup

vocals.

Other birthdays: Barbara Albut (Angels), 57; Linda McCartney, 51; Gerry

Marsden (Gerry & The Pacemakers), 50 and MC Miker G., 30.