Gospel Music

JGM Pick of the Week: December 14, 2015

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” Livre From A Classic Holiday…Presented by MBK Entertainment (2015) http://smarturl.it/AClassicHoliday No disrespect to the many fine gospel musicians out there, but it is surely nice to hear a cappella harmonies every once in a while. That’s what the gospel group Livre gives us in their rendering of the classic Christmas carol, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”  The group’s Take 6-like blend sounds effortless but is harmonically complex. Still, less is more, and during a season when every retailer is yelling to be heard over the din of other retailers, and a steady dose of over-amplified musical cheer ...

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Hi-Lite Juniors – A New Beginning

Hi-Lite Juniors A New Beginning Dynasty Productions 2015 https://www.facebook.com/Hilitejuniors/ By Bob Marovich Back in the day, “Junior” quartets were the next generation of singers to come up under the tutelage of a more senior group. Thus, the Seven Star Juniors were the younger proteges of the Seven Stars quartet, and so on. So it is with the Hi-Lite Juniors of Paterson, New Jersey. The quartet was formed in the early 1970s by Milbert “Doc” McKenzie, uncle of the Juniors’ lead singer, Eric McKenzie. Working within the contemporary-traditional blend of Doc’s Gospel Hi-Lites, the Hi-Lite Juniors—now grown men—offer ten selections on ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 7, 2015

“Nada me Faltara’” Denyse Bittencourt From the CD Um Minuto Mais www.denysebittencourt.com.br “Nada me Faltara’,” from Brazilian songstress and songwriter Denyse Bittencourt’s Um Minuto Mais, envelops the listener in an easy warmth of mood and tone. Bittencourt’s crystal clear soprano is tinged with just enough passion to bring the song to an intense apex. The title translates from Portugese to English as “I Shall Not Want,” from the first line of Psalm 23 (“The Lord Is My Shepherd”).  But as with any good song, well rendered, you don’t necessarily need to know what the words mean to get the message. Denyse Bittencourt ...

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Evangelist Myrna Summers: God Gave Her a Song and Now a Ministry

By Bob Marovich In 1970, Evangelist Myrna Summers burst on the gospel music scene on the strength of “God Gave Me a Song,” a composition she wrote and performed with the Interdenominational Youth Choir of Washington, DC and Maryland. It was so popular, Atlantic Records handed her a recording contract. The song earned a Grammy nomination. Summers is now parlaying her more than forty years of success as a music minister to help fellow church musicians and singers understand that music ministry is “More than a Song.” “Music people, that’s where my heart is,” Summers told the Journal of Gospel ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 30, 2015

“God’s Got Me” Dexter Walker & Zion Movement https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dexterwalkerandzionmovem From the Chicago choir that won the 2012 Verizon How Sweet the Sound search for the Best Church Choir in America, “God’s Got Me” is a confident declaration of soul comfort sung from within the everlasting arms of the Lord. It’s an embrace that feels so inviting to lead vocalist Minister Tim White that he revs up to testifying by the conclusion. This Percy Bady-produced single, from Dexter Walker & Zion Movement’s forthcoming full project release, is less frenetic than we are used to hearing from ZM and Min. Tim White, ...

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Caleb Collins – Caleb Collins Christmas

Caleb Collins Caleb Collins Christmas Caleb Collins Music (2015) www.calebcollins.com By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Caleb Collins of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir hits a long ball home run with Caleb Collins Christmas. Evoking modern day crooners Michael Buble’ and Harry Connick Jr., Collins sails with verve through lushly orchestrated versions of sacred and secular chestnuts, such as “Let It Snow,” “Joy to the World,” and particularly dramatic arrangements of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and “What Child is This.” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” gets a Latin workover with a James Bond-ish open. “Silent Night” has a bluesy feel. Rachel Williams-Baggett ...

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Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise – The Great I Am

Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise The Great I Am JDI Records NOTE: Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise’s self-released 2014 CD Redemption has been picked up by JDI Records and reissued as The Great I Am (same songs, somewhat different track order), JGM has reprinted/revised its review of the CD, published originally on August 23, 2014. By Bob Marovich Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise pulls out all the stops on The Great I Am. Douglass, a twenty-five-year-old Californian, organized Spirit of Praise a few years ago. The group released a single, “It Belongs to You,” in April 2012 and ...

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Travis Greene – The Hill

Travis Greene The Hill RCA Inspiration (release date: October 30, 2015) www.travisgreene.tv By Bob Marovich At age four, Travis Greene fell out of an apartment window in Germany and was pronounced dead. His praying mother believed otherwise. She picked up her limp toddler, called repetitively on Jesus, and little Travis opened his eyes. Greene relates this and other inspirational true stories on the title track of his major label debut album, The Hill, recorded live with a battalion of musicians and singers at Mosaic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. With such a remarkable backstory, it’s not surprising that Greene’s performance ...

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Chicago Gospel History with Radio Great Milt Rosenberg

Journal of Gospel Music Editor-in-Chief Bob Marovich (pictured, left), discussed his book, A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music (University of Illinois Press), with radio legend Milt Rosenberg (center) on The Milt Rosenberg Show.  The program aired live Friday, November 6, 2015, on WCGO 1590 AM, Chicago. Iconic gospel choir conductor, arranger, and Mahalia Jackson accompanist Dr. Charles Clency (right) joined us for a lively and informative discussion of gospel music as it was birthed from, and prospered in, Chicago.  Musical highlights included selections from many of Chicago’s golden greats! So grateful for the opportunity to be a guest of Milt Rosenberg, ...

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Deitrick Haddon – Masterpiece

Deitrick Haddon Masterpiece eOne/DH Visions/Releve’ Entertainment (release date: November 6, 2015) www.eonemusic.com By Bob Marovich We are blank canvasses that God, the ultimate artist, fashions into beautiful works of art, declares Deitrick Haddon on the title track of his new album, Masterpiece, released yesterday. But it’s the blank canvas or, more accurately, the damaged canvas, not the finished painting, which captures Haddon’s interest. Observing from the rarefied air of a man “who ain’t got nothing to prove or lose,” he warns humanity to clean its canvas by getting right with itself and with God. Why? Because this is his story, too, ...

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