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Take 6

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Take 6
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 in 2001
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 in 2001
Background information
OriginHuntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Instrument(s)Voice (vocal bass, vocal percussion, mouth trumpet)
Years active1980–present
  • Alvin Chea
  • Khristian Dentley
  • Joey Kibble
  • Mark Kibble
  • Claude V. McKnight III
  • David Thomas
Past members

Take 6 is an American a cappella gospel sextet formed in 1980 on the campus of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama.[1] The group integrates jazz with spiritual and inspirational lyrics. Take 6 has received several Grammy Awards as well as Dove Awards, a Soul Train Award and nominations for the NAACP Image Award.

The band has worked with Ray Charles, Nnenna Freelon, Gordon Goodwin, Don Henley, Whitney Houston, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, k.d. lang, Queen Latifah, The Manhattan Transfer, Johnny Mathis, Brian McKnight, Luis Miguel, Marcus Miller, Joe Sample, Ben Tankard, Randy Travis, CeCe Winans, Stevie Wonder and Jacob Collier. All original members grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[1]


Oakwood College years[edit]

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 students for the group. While rehearsing in a campus bathroom to prepare for a performance, Mark Kibble heard them singing. He joined the harmonizing, adding a fifth part with them onstage that night.[2] Kibble invited Mervyn Warren to join the group, which performed under the name Alliance.[3] Alliance performed in local churches and on campus with a changing roster of members. In 1985, the lower half of the group (bass, baritone, and second tenor) left after graduating. Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, and David Thomas joined.[3]


The band signed a contract with Warner Alliance[4] in 1987 and changed its name to Take 6 after a search revealed the name "Alliance" was in use. Their self-titled debut album (1988) won Grammy Awards in the gospel and jazz categories[3] and three Dove Awards. They contributed to the film Do the Right Thing and sang on the album Back on the Block by Quincy Jones. They also appeared on Sesame Street and Spike Lee & Company: Do It a Cappella. The band's second album, So Much 2 Say (1990)[3] appeared on the gospel, jazz, and R&B charts of Billboard magazine. The band then signed with Reprise.[4] In 1991, after the release of So Much 2 Say, Mervyn Warren left the group to pursue a career as a record producer and was replaced by Joey Kibble, Mark Kibble's younger brother. The group added instrumentation to their a cappella sound on the album He Is Christmas.[3]

In 2006, the group started the label Take 6 Records; Feels Good, the first album on their new label, was released the same year. In 2007, they recorded with Eros Ramazzotti for his album . A year later Take 6 released The Standard, which ventured into more traditional jazz territory.

Believe (Sono, 2016), produced by Claude Villani and Ross Vannelli, charted in six categories on Billboard in its first two weeks of release.[5] Iconic (Sono, 2018), produced and arranged by the band, was its first album to chart at No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart.[citation needed] The first single was a cover version of "Change the World" by Eric Clapton and debuted on the Contemporary Jazz Song chart in the top 30. The second single, "Sailing", is a cover of the Christopher Cross classic.


Members of Take 6 after performance with guest Vladimir Aleksandrovich Savenok at the 2013 NAMM Show in California

Current members[edit]

  • Claude V. McKnight III – first tenor or first voice (1980–present)
  • Mark Kibble – second tenor or second voice (1980–present)
  • David Thomas – third tenor or fourth voice (former), third voice (today) (1985–present)
  • Joey Kibble  – fourth tenor or third voice (former), fourth voice (today) (1991–present)
  • Khristian Dentley  – baritone or fifth voice (2011–present)
  • Alvin Chea  – vocal bass or sixth voice (1985–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Mervyn Warren  – third tenor or third voice/first tenor or first voice (song/section dependent) (1980–1991)
  • Cedric Dent  – baritone or fifth voice (1985–2011)



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

Live albums[edit]

Year Album US US
Label Certification(s)
2000 Tonight: Live   Reprise


  • 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[6])
  • 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[6])
  • 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"
  • 2018: "Sailing"

Video releases[edit]

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

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Category Title Result
1989 Best New Artist Nominated
1989 Best Soul Gospel Performance – Duo, Group, Choir or Chorus Take 6 Won
1989 Best Jazz Vocal Performance – Duo or Group "Spread Love" Won
1990 Best Gospel Performance – Duo, Group, Choir or Chorus "The Savior Is Waiting" Won
1990 Best Jazz Vocal Performance – Duo or Group "Like the Whole World's Watching" Nominated
1991 Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album So Much 2 Say Won
1992 Best Jazz Vocal Performance He Is Christmas Won
1993 Best Jazz Vocal Performance "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" Nominated
1995 Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album Join the Band Won
1995 Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance - Duo or Group "Biggest Part of Me" Nominated
1996 Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance - Duo or Group "All I Need (Is a Chance)" Nominated
1997 Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals "When You Wish upon a Star" Nominated
1997 Best Instrumental Arrangement with Accompanying Vocal(s) "When You Wish Upon a Star" Nominated
1998 Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album Brothers Won
1998 Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals "You Don't Have to Be Afraid" Nominated
2000 Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album So Cool Nominated
2003 Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals "Love's in Need of Love Today" (with Stevie Wonder) Won
2005 Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals "Moon River" (with Stevie Wonder) Nominated
2009 Best Gospel Performance "Shall We Gather at the River" Nominated

GMA Dove Award wins[edit]

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. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  2. ^ "Take 6 Contemporary Christian A Cappella Group". Singers.com. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Soul Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 259. ISBN 0-85112-733-9.
  4. ^ a b Ginell, Richard S. "Take 6". AllMusic. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  5. ^ "Take 6 Believe scores big on the Billboard charts during debut week". sonorecordinggroup.com. April 5, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Richard S. Ginell. "Take 6 | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved December 24, 2013.

External links[edit]