11 March 1950, New York City, New York, USA. To call Bobby McFerrin a jazz vocalist is hardly to do him justice, for when McFerrin performs - he usually appears solo in lengthy concerts - he uses his entire body as a sound-box, beating noises out of his slender frame while emitting a constant accompaniment of guttural noises, clicks and popping sounds. To all this he adds a vocal technique that owes a slight debt to the bop vocalist Betty Carter and her daring swoops and scat vocals.
McFerrin was brought up in a musical family - both his parents are opera singers, his father performing on the film soundtrack of Porgy And Bess in 1959 - but his main jazz influence came from Miles Davis Bitches Brew. Training as a pianist at the Juilliard School of Music and later at Sacramento State College, he worked first as an accompanist, then as a pianist and singer during the 70s. He came to public notice in 1979, when he performed in New York with...
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