CDs

Ysabella – Help Me Out

Ysabella Help Me Out Sharper Brothers (2016) Available on Amazon By Bob Marovich Ysabella, formerly known as the Jenkins Sisters, is a contemporary gospel sister trio. Jentry, Aja, and Armani Jenkins have been singing for some time: in 2008, the group won the Word Network’s Gospel F.O.C.U.S. competition. Help Me Out is their latest recorded offering. There’s no doubt that the ladies can sing. Their crisp and youthful harmonies, no doubt honed over years of sisterly closeness, evoke a Destiny’s Child vibe, and the title track features a churchy lead vocal over the bluesy vamp. Take away the extroverted electronica ...

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Renaissance Movement Music – Lions in Suits

Renaissance Movement Music Lions in Suits (release date: February 26, 2016) Available digitally By Bob Marovich On the fifteen-selection Lions in Suits, Christian hip hop collective Renaissance Movement Music (RMM) joins forces with a handful of special guests to deliver a parcel of messages.  The messages are mostly about the life-giving and life-saving power of faith in God, but they also contain pointed commentary on society’s propensity to stereotype, typecast, put people in boxes, and throw shade on anything and anybody different. RMM is comprised of Sinai, Mike Bell, and Legin. The album title appears to refer to the group’s ...

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Christon Gray – The Glory Album

Christon Gray The Glory Album Fo Yo Soul Recordings / RCA (release date: March 11, 2016) By Bob Marovich Christian hip hop artist Christon Gray announces that he’s “spittin’ the real, not the auto tune” on The Glory Album, the major label follow-up to his solo independent release and Billboard-charting School of Roses.  He’s right, and he has a lot of real to spit. As Gray shared with JGM, The Glory Album takes up where Roses left off. The sequel finds Gray trying to make sense of the often incomprehensible strands of life with which everybody grapples, such as family, love, relationships, spirituality, the responsibility ...

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Rev. Roy Reed & the Zion Jubilees – Jesus Is All I Need (Live)

Rev. Roy Reed & the Zion Jubilees Jesus Is All I Need Sharp Records (2016) www.sharprecordsusa.com By Bob Marovich The Zion Jubilees remain the flagship artist for Sharp Records. The quartet’s new CD, Jesus Is All I Need, recorded live in the group’s hometown of Bryan, Texas, proves there is still power in the traditional gospel quartet sound. Since its founding as the Reed Brothers in the late 1950s, the Zion Jubilees has dished out wooden church wisdom steeped in sweet harmonies and hard gospel lead singing. Making records for Stan Lewis’s Shreveport-based Jewel Records in the 1970s, the group ...

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Carl B. Phillips & Friends – Great Rain

Carl B. Phillips & Friends Great Rain Prove Me Productions (release date: January 29, 2016) https://www.reverbnation.com/carlbphillips By Bob Marovich The photo on the back of the CD booklet for Carl B. Phillips & Friends’ Great Rain shows an Ivy League-attired Phillips standing next to a clock, a briefcase and umbrella in his hands. If, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, this photo is saying that Phillips is prepared, but waiting patiently, for his bountiful shower of blessings. Waiting with expectation for a movement from God in one’s life is a current that runs throughout this live project ...

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WDF – What the World Needs Now

WDF What the World Needs Now Studio Cloud 30 (release date: November 10, 2015) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich I rarely award an EP or mini-album five stars because that puts extraordinary pressure on the full-length CD that inevitably follows to be as good, if not better, than the more diminutive project.  It’s akin to giving a new artist a lifetime achievement award.  Where do you go from there? But in the case of WDF’s What the World Needs Now, however, I am making an exception. Canadian gospel artist Warren Dean Flandez, known as WDF, has created a mini album that deservedly ...

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For the Lord – Greater

For the Lord Greater (private press 2015) By Bob Marovich For the Lord may be an unorthodox name for a gospel quartet, but the group has been around for some time and their new album, Greater, demonstrates that the gentlemen are 100 percent gospel quartet with a traditional bent. The quartet appears to favor brisk tempo sing- and clap-along songs, as the album has several, starting with the opening cut, “He’s Alright” and “Blessing On the Way.” “Grip on God” and “Solution is Jesus” also have that rocking rhythm that is quintessentially quartet. Johnavan “Bo Peep” Sauls, the credited songwriter, works ...

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Treva – I Am Praise

Treva I Am Praise (EP) chezmusique (2014) www.TrevaJones.com By Bob Marovich Treva Jones did it the right way. The Houston, Texas, vocalist released a five-track EP that showcases the many shades of her vocal talent on songs written by gifted songwriters such as V. Michael McKay and the late O’Landa Draper.  She hired Sanchez Harley as a producer, and she stayed fairly true to one style of gospel (in her case, traditional) instead of wandering around in an effort to please everyone. Treva demonstrates vocal versatility on I Am Praise.  The opening cut, “There’s a Blessing,” is a new song ...

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The Abyssinian Mass – Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis Featuring Damien Sneed and Chorale Le Chateau The Abyssinian Mass Blue Engine Records (release date: March 18, 2016) www.blueenginerecords.org By Bob Marovich During the sermon section of The Abyssinian Mass, Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III welcomes congregants with a statement that is the underlying theme of the piece: “Everybody has a place in the house of God.” Unity in diversity under one supreme deity is the binding agent of The Abyssinian Mass, written in partnership with Harlem’s historic Abyssinian Baptist Church by Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz musician, composer, and educator Wynton Marsalis. Blending ...

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Bri (Briana Babineaux) – Keys to My Heart

Bri (Briana Babineaux) Keys to My Heart Tyscot Records / Marquis Boone Enterprises (release date: March 25, 2016) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich You probably know Briana Babineaux (Bri), the pompadour-wearing fashionista, from her Instagram singing segments that racked up such significant interest among the hoi polloi that she garnered attention from Marquis Boone, the man who transformed Casey J from schoolteacher to Billboard charting artist. Bri’s twelve-track debut album with Boone and Tyscot, Keys to My Heart, answers the growing “Bri Nation’s” encore cry and offers further proof of the singer’s, and soon to be college graduate’s, talent. The album has a hybrid production sound ...

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