Hi there i’m back with another edition of World of Slick Music.
Let´s continue with anonther woman and this lady has one of the most amazing voices i have ever heard. Let’s take it from the beginning it was on May 21 1964 in Berwyn, Pennsylvania she was born but grew up in Philadelphia.
She has a 6 octave range in her voice, ok if you don´t know much about muisc theory and maybe don´t even know what a octave is.
Picture showing a quite young Rachelle.
Well just ask any singer, musician, producer, song/music teacher at all and i´m sure they´ll go like “no way 6 octave are you kidding me??!! That´s incredible, that is a lot for sure!!” Something like that is how they would react i’m sure! Let´s take an example, the world famous super producer/arranger Quincy Jones felt bad and were apologizing for only using 2 of her 6 octave vocal range on a album!
Picture showing front page of the Quincy Jones album “Q’s Jook Joint” on which Rachelle sang.
At the age of 6 she started to sing and this no doubt contributed to the eventual development of her startling six-and-change vocal range. She deciced early after classical training of violin that she wanted to make her mark as an professional in instrumental and songwriting.
In her mid teens her dad got her a piano with the provision that she learned to play at a professional level. Within 6 months she had secured her first gig as a professional pianist/singer, that was pretty fast don´t you think?!
When she was 18 she made it to the college where every(?) american singer/musician have studied, Berklee College of Music to study composition and arranging. Her classmates were Brandford Marsalis (sax), Kevin Eubanks (guitar), Kevin was the leader of the Tonight Show Band, more known as like Jay Leno show, between 1995 and 2009 and his predecessor was Brandford Marsalis!
Pictures showing Kevin Eubanks left with Jay Leno in the right corner and to the right it’s Brandford Marsalis 2 classmates of Rachelle from Berkley. Some other famous classmates were jazzmusicans Donald Harrison (sax) and drummer Jeff “Tain Watts.
Now i realize that for many these people are totally unknowm and i don´t expect or demand that you must know every jazz.musician there is! In the world of jazz these guys are big names. She graduaded in a year and taught music for a while with jazz-trumpet legend Dizzie Gillespie in New Yersey.
Gillespie saw early that this was a major talent way above the average cause he predicted that Rachelle one day would become a “major force” in jazz industry and he was right big time!
Picture above shows trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie.
From 1975-90 she sang background vocals for a lot of artists including George Duke, Lou Rawls, Patti Labelle to name a few. Also during these years she worked with many of the greatest artists/names in jazz. Then in 1990 the first album in her own name came and it was called “First Instrument” and a funny thing is that it was first released in Japan and 5 years later it was released in U.S. and it´s a pure straight ahead jazz album.
Picture above shows Rachelle’s first solo album.
Next album was more r&b and pop orientated, more slick in it´s production. It was released in 1992 and included a duet with a great male singer called Will Downing whom i’ve written about earlier in this blog.
Picture above shows Rachelle and Will Downing when performing their duet “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This”
She has also performed a couple of times at the classic Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Rachelle can sing contemporary jazz, soul/r&b, gospel, pop so she is very versatile you can tell. She still performs, writes, arranging music and last album was released in 2008.
A tip is while on youtube search for “rachelle ferrell bernie mac funeral” and see and hear when Rachelle goes gospel, pure magic!!
Finally the song i’ve chosen, it´s from the album “Rachelle Ferrell”, picture below, and was released in 1992 and the name is “I’m Special”. It’s style is like contemporary slick r&b/soul/jazz.
So here comes the song called “I’m Special” with Rachelle Ferrell.
Enjoy your listening!!
Tags: #worldofslickmusic #rachelleferrell #berwyn #pennsylvania #philadelphia #quincyjones #berkely #kevineubanks #brandfordmarsalis #jayleno #donaldharrison #jefftainwatts #dizziegilespie #newjersey #georgeduke #lourawls #pattilabelle #willdowning #berniemac #montreauxjazzfestival