Gospel Jazz

“Pass Me Not” – Elder Randall Ogans Sr. & Dorian Ogans

“Pass Me Not”Elder Randall Ogans Sr. & Dorian OgansAlpha 7 Ministries (release date: September 5, 2021)https://elderrandalloganssr.hearnow.com By Robert M. Marovich Gospel jazz artist Elder Randall Ogans Sr. and his equally-talented son Dorian combine their efforts to tastefully update the beloved Fanny Crosby hymn “Pass Me Not.” Dorian’s acoustic piano and electric guitar riffs give the hymn a gentle swing that evokes a late-night cafe’ jam session, until Randall’s organ enters and brings it back to Sunday morning worship. It’s the kind of restful piece you play just before or after service, or at the end of a very busy Sunday.

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“With Thee I Wed” – Curtis Fondren feat. Desmond Pringle and Felicia Coleman-Evans

“With Thee I Wed (The Wedding Song)” Curtis Fondren feat. Desmond Pringle & Felicia Coleman-Evans Independent (release date: June 18, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Longtime Chicago gospel musician Curtis Fondren offers something for the wedding trade in “With Thee I Wed.” This ’80s-esque slow jam evokes the tracks on Fred Hammond’s love album, complete with vow-like lyrics and honeyed melody and arrangement. The song spotlights two extraordinary talents, Desmond Pringle and Felicia Coleman-Evans, both of whom are soloists in their own right. They deliver the appropriately smooth-as-silk singing. Coleman-Evans in particular could sing the fine print on a credit ...

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Derrick “Doc” Pearson – A Family Man

Derrick “Doc” Pearson A Family Man I AM Music Company (release date: May 7, 2021) www.iammusiccompany.com By Robert M. Marovich Bassist, arranger, and songwriter Derrick “Doc” Pearson has graced the e-pages of JGM in the past with inspirational smooth jazz projects such as 2018’s I Still Do: Songs for a Biblical Marriage, and initially with his 2015 release, No Greater Love. Pearson’s latest offering, A Family Man, follows in the footsteps of I Still Do in its thematic anchoring, its mix of bass-driven smooth jazz from a team of top-flight musicians representing the DMV area, and equally smooth vocals. This ...

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“Come Back” – Elain Thomas

“Come Back” Elain Thomas From the EP Transformations Independent (release date: October 6, 2020) www.reverbnation.com/elainthomas By Robert M. Marovich Anchored by bold and insistent Brazilian percussion, “Come Back” is Elain Thomas’s finest single to date. It’s a rhythmic rumination on God’s constancy, a conversation between the self-styled jazz psalmist and her Savior. In her resonant contralto, Thomas delivers the Lord’s declaration, “Backslider, you belong to me,” not as a command but as a given. Many songs lasting two-and-a-half minutes are fine where they are, but “Come Back” could have gone on much longer without any loss of listener interest.

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Elder Randall Ogans Sr. – What a Friend

Elder Randall Ogans Sr. What a Friend Alpha 7 Ministries (release date: October 1, 2020) www.alpha7.org By Bob Marovich Elder Randall Ogans Sr.’s What a Friend contains classic hymns bathed in smooth instrumental arrangements. Well, almost. “We Need to Pray” is the one and only track with lyrics or, more specifically, a spoken word meditation by Elder Ogans. Over the melody of the Lords of Harmony’s 1965 single, “If God Gave Us Everything,” Ogans shares a real-life parable about a homeless shelter to remind listeners that there but for the grace of God go we. Otherwise, it’s instrumental jazz played ...

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David Billingsley – House of David, Volume 1

David Billingsley House of David – Volume 1 Intersound (release date: July 31, 2020) www.billingsleymusic.com By Bob Marovich Only two months after his album debut, Hymns from Grandma’s Living Room, jazz pianist David Billingsley has released his sophomore project, House of David, the first volume of self-penned instrumental jazz compositions. A Racine, Wisconsin, native now living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Billingsley is founder and executive director of the Billingsley School of Music and Arts, an academy that offers K-12 students access to arts education. The selections on House of David – Volume 1 are contemplative and thoughtful, designed to conjure the ...

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Ben Tankard Launches “Sunday’s Best Musician” Contest

Nashville, TN — He is known as The Godfather of Gospel Jazz. He is also known as an airplane pilot and mentor, a former NBA player, a television star, a pastor of a thriving church, and dedicated a father and loving patriarch to a large family (Oh yes..and husband to Jewel). He is Ben Tankard. Noted as the producer who discovered Yolanda Adams, Tankard has almost 30 years of award-winning, platinum-selling, chart-topping albums, and radio hits. He has 16 Stellar Awards, is a Stellar Award Honors Hall of Fame inductee, was nominated for a 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding ...

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Jonathan Butler – Christmas Together

Jonathan Butler Christmas Together Artistry Music / Mack Avenue Music Group (release date: October 4, 2019) www.mackavenue.com By Bob Marovich Christmas Together is the second holiday-themed album for singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Butler, one that he recorded and mixed in his home studio in Southern California. Whenever the album isn’t offering up dreamy instrumental arrangements of classic Christmas carols by some of smooth jazz’s best-known musicians, it is evoking the soulfulness of Stevie Wonder. You hear Wonder’s frictionless resonance in Butler’s lead vocals on “Winter Wonderland” (no pun intended) and “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel.” “Mary Did You Know,” ...

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Kirk Whalum – Humanite’

Kirk Whalum Humanite’ Mack Avenue Music Group (release date: October 11, 2019) www.mackavenue.com By Bob Marovich If music is a universal language, the jazz idiom seems particularly equipped to express the essence of every culture. In doing so, it has the power to unify the world. I suspect saxophonist Kirk Whalum would agree. His latest release, Humanite’, is a love poem to world harmony. While not overtly religious, the album contains themes like freedom, love, hope, and optimism that resonate throughout various religions. But rather than lean on a higher power to solve every problem, Humanite’ suggests that it is ...

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Sanctified Soul – Joyful

Sanctified Soul Joyful Rampart Street Music (release date: 2018) www.rampartstreetmusic.com/cd-joyfulss.htm By Bob Marovich Gospel saxophonist Harold Rayford once said that jazz and gospel are first cousins. If that’s so, New Orleans produced some of the first cousins’ earliest progenitors—from King Oliver and Louis Armstrong to Mahalia Jackson and Bessie Griffin. There’s also the New Orleans ensemble Sanctified Soul, which offers helpings of jazz and gospel, as well as soul and R&B. The group lives up to its name on its latest album, Joyful, and the collection of gospel, inspirational, and classic jazz songs lives up to the album title (which, ...

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