CDs

The Jones Family Singers – Live from Mt. Zion

The Jones Family Singers Live from Mt. Zion Arts + Labor (2015) www.thejonesfamilysingers.com By Bob Marovich At one point in Live from Mt. Zion, Alexis Jones, the force of nature who is the Jones Family Singers’ primary lead vocalist, says the group gets asked why they don’t sing rock and roll. Oh but we do, she explains. “I can rock in Jesus and I can rooolllll in the Holy Ghost!” Spiritual rocking, rolling, swaying, and dancing are compulsory accompaniments to the Jones Family Singers’ devotional repertory—from the group, the live audience, and the at-home listener. And for good reason. Live ...

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Akita Steen Smith – A Long Time Coming (EP)

Akita Steen Smith A Long Time Coming Akita Steen Smith (2014) http://altmgtmktc.com/akita-steen/ By Bob Marovich “It’s been a long time coming,” Akita Steen Smith sings on the title track of her five-cut EP. No doubt it has been a journey, but A Long Time Coming suggests that the Detroit singer is not yet at the finish line. This independently-produced project by indie vocalist Smith is contemporary gospel steeped in smooth jazz arrangements and musicianship. Less is more, as the saying goes, and it would have been good advice for this project. In more instances than fewer, too much is going on musically, especially ...

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Juzang – Back 2 Life (EP)

Juzang Back 2 Life (EP) www.juzangmusic.com By Bob Marovich You may be asking yourself: what’s a Juzang? It’s a trio of singing sisters—Guielle, Patria, and Marisa Juzang—from Huntsville, Alabama. The lovely young ladies released their EDM-fueled inspirational single, “Back 2 Life,” this past spring. They return with a five-track EP of the same name that gives listeners a chance to hear more of their sweet harmonies. The title track, with its explosive punctuation of electronica, is still the group’s strongest offering. Nevertheless, the EP demonstrates that the trio does not need to hide behind musical pyrotechnics, however effective they may be, ...

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Pastor Waverly B. Bumbrey Sr. Presents “Seasons” Live

Pastor Waverly B. Bumbrey Sr. Presents Refuge Temple Cathedral Voices “Seasons” Live www.refugetempledetroit.org By Bob Marovich One might surmise from its title (and the image of a red bow on the cover) that “Seasons” Live is a Christmas CD. Indeed, the strains of “O Come All Ye Faithful” seep through on a selection called “Bumbrey’s Worship,” but otherwise this project by a Detroit church choir is an all-seasons release. Featuring the choir and leadership of Refuge Temple Cathedral of His Glory, notably Supt. Waverly B. Bumbrey Sr., First Lady Patricia Bumbrey, and the Refuge Temple Cathedral Voices, “Seasons” Live is ...

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Dr. F. James Clark and the Shalom Church (City of Peace) Mass Choir – Simply Amazing

Dr. F. James Clark & the Shalom Church (City of Peace) Mass Choir Simply Amazing (Release Date: June 16, 2015) www.shalomccop.org By Bob Marovich This debut project from Dr. F. James Clark’s Shalom Church (City of Peace) Mass Choir of Florissant, Missouri, captured my interest the second I saw that the Reverend Quincy Fielding Jr. was recording consultant, composer, and vocalist; and composer-conductor Dello Thedford is the church’s minister of music. Given such estimable talent at the helm, it is no surprise that Simply Amazing features a well-trained, well-rehearsed choir capable of rendering a passing parade of contemporary sacred music ...

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Tasha Cobbs – One Place Live

Tasha Cobbs One Place Live Motown Gospel (release date: August 21, 2015) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Recorded before nearly 3,000 worshippers at Redemption Church in Greenville, South Carolina, singer-songwriter Tasha Cobbs’ One Place Live is a solid follow-up to her number one CD, Grace. It actually surpasses the multi-award-winning debut album, as the worship songstress sounds more vocally confident than ever before. On One Place Live, produced by label-mate VaShawn Mitchell, Cobbs doesn’t as much lead as direct or orchestrate the flow of praise and worship. Song transitions are effortless and create a worship experience that is nigh perfect in its ...

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Reginald Torian Sr. – All Things Torian

Reginald Torian Sr. All Things Torian R.T.M. Records (2015) www.reginaldtoriansr.com By Bob Marovich As a member of the Impressions, Reginald Torian Sr. inherited a repertory that included love songs, dance tunes, and formidable classics of inspiration and cultural empowerment. His solo sampler CD, All Things Torian, replicates this same thematic mix, albeit with a far more explicit focus on the role of religious faith in one’s life than ever the Impressions presented. We learn from Aaron Cohen’s fine album notes that Torian first lent his sweet, gentle falsetto to the Enchanters vocal group before joining Fred Cash and Sam Gooden in the ...

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Damion Murrill & Siloam – Take a Stand

Damion Murrill & Siloam Take a Stand Divinity Music Group (release date: June 9, 2015) https://www.facebook.com/damionmurrill2 By Bob Marovich On his debut solo CD, Take a Stand, Damion Murrill demonstrates effective tutelage as a protégé of Donald Lawrence as he leads his own gospel group, Siloam (pron. Sill-OAM) on a baker’s dozen of thoughtful and rousing selections. Damion Murrill & Siloam possess that room-filling extroverted vocal sound representative of today’s contemporary gospel ensembles. The musicians’ complex chords and learned changes are also emblematic of this popular style. What is distinctive about Take a Stand, however, is its lyrical emphasis on ...

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Funmilayo Ngozi – Unconstrained

Funmilayo Ngozi Unconstrained Unconstrained Music (2015) www.funmilayongozi.com By Bob Marovich A cursory look at Nigerian singer Funmilayo Ngozi’s name might suggest that her music is steeped in the African gospel tradition. In actuality, Ngozi lives in Augusta, Georgia, and studied and is a music educator in the U.S.  She served as a background vocalist on Trey McLaughlin & Sounds of Zamar’s Limitless album and the Beulah Grove Baptist Church’s Live at the Grove CD. Ngozi’s debut solo album, Unconstrained, is true to its title in more ways than one.  Although the title refers to unfettered worship and praise, the songs are ...

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Laura Kaczor – Restore Me

Laura Kaczor Restore Me LifeThirst Music (release date: July 10, 2015) www.laurakaczor.com By Bob Marovich Restore Me is Laura Kaczor’s (pronounced kuh-ZORE)’s fourth album and first in five years. It extends her work as a Christian songstress who knows just how to craft Billboard-charting gospels. Kaczor’s voice is lovely to listen to, passionate and pretty, a mashup of Katy Perry sass and Sheryl Crow clarity. She is backed by a thoroughly-produced pop rock sound, courtesy of Dove Award-winning producer Ian Eskelin, and the melodies are likeable if somewhat similar, not wavering much from today’s familiar CCM vibe. The ten selections ...

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