Interviews

Kirk Whalum on Jazz: A Way to “Experience the Savior Who is Indescribable”

By Bob Marovich From Mary Lou Williams to John Coltrane, jazz musicians over the years have, as Kirk Whalum puts it, “made a spiritual offering through their music.” With his celebrated series, The Gospel According to Jazz, Whalum makes his own spiritual offering, using jazz to describe the indescribable Savior. The DVD version of Whalum’s latest installment, The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter IV, was released yesterday (May 19). JGM’s Bob Marovich spoke with the jazz legend about the new project and the link between jazz and spirituality. JGM: What encouraged you to do the first Gospel According to Jazz project? ...

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“Duchess of Gospel” LaVarnga Hubbard Has Better Coming

By Bob Marovich Gospel music has had its share of fathers and mothers, kings and queens, princes, crown princes, princesses, godfathers, thunderbolts, wonder boys, and boy wonders, but as far as I know, only one duchess: Lady LaVarnga Hubbard. When Hubbard opens her mouth to sing, she channels the best of gospel’s traditional church-raised no-nonsense female shouters. Born in Chicago, LaVarnga (pron. luh-VARN-juh) Hubbard was nine years old when she began singing for Christian Doctrine Baptist Church, under the pastorate of Rev. Herman Billingsley. She joined Chicago Mass Choir when it was still called James C. Chambers and the Ecclesiastes ...

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Filmmaker Explores Women in Blues and their Gospel Roots

Filmmaker Lisa Eismen is seeking the help of the gospel and blues community. Time is running out with only 6 days left to help her fund this inspirational film about women artists. By Bob Marovich (Sponsored Post) Growing up in the Chicago suburb of Westmont, Lisa Eismen soaked in the impromptu jam sessions that her blues performer father orchestrated in the family’s living room. “Our living room was very small,” she reflected, “but we had a baby grand piano in it and my dad would bang out the blues.” Relatives stopped by and they would perform together as a family. ...

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Documentary of Detroit Choir Resounds with Hallelujahs

By Bob Marovich, Journal of Gospel Music “Good things can still come out of Detroit.” This comment, from Let’s Have Some Church Detroit Style, might as well serve as the documentary’s subtitle. Directed by Michigan filmmaker Andrew Sacks, Let’s Have Some Church Detroit Style tells the story of Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver II and The Hallelujah Singers, a 25-member community choir from Detroit nominated in 2014 for nine Rhythm of Gospel Awards, including the highest honor, CD of the Year. The film explores the personal lives of Weaver and his choristers while chronicling the group’s preparation to attend the awards ...

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Ann Nesby: Straight from the Heart…About the Heart

In an interview with JGM‘s Bob Marovich, two-time Grammy Award winner Ann Nesby (Sounds of Blackness) talks about her musical upbringing, her new album, a persistent rumor that needs cleaning up, and why she is a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Essential listening for Ann Nesby and Sounds of Blackness fans, as well as for anyone who wants to get and stay healthy.

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Audrey Cher Steps Out in Her Destiny

By Bob Marovich When Audrey Cher was born, her parents wanted to make certain her name meant something in the entertainment industry. So they called her Audrey after Audrey Hepburn and Cher for, well…Cher. “I’m walking in my name,” gospel singer and recording artist Audrey Cher told JGM last week. Born in Mount Clemens, Michigan, a town that once drew Hollywood celebrities to its mineral bathhouses, Audrey moved to Detroit, where she attended Bishop G. M. Boone’s New Liberty Apostolic Faith Church. There, she sang in the choir and at thirteen, joined the praise team. It would be another four years ...

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Damien Sneed on the Links Between Classical and Gospel Music

JGM‘s Bob Marovich talks with the multi-talented Damien Sneed about his new CD, Broken to Minister – Deluxe Edition (release date: March 3), his appearance with Wynton Marsalis on the PBS program, “Everyone Has a Place,” spotlighting the Abyssinian Mass, his directorial debut at Carnegie Hall, and the relationship of classical and gospel music. Damien provides a music workshop in fifteen minutes!

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JGM’s Bob Marovich Interviewed for Kennedy Center Podcast

JGM Editor-in-Chief Bob Marovich was interviewed for this podcast on gospel music and the Civil Rights movement. Professor Robert Darden of Baylor University, Dwandalyn Reese of the Smithsonian Institution, and Professor Birgitta Johnson of the University of South Carolina School of Music are also interviewed for this podcast, part of the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge education program.  Richard Paul produced. Click on the image at left to hear or download a free copy of the audio podcast (episode 3).  

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