Tag Archives: chicago

Sylvia Fedrick – Syl’s Combo 2022 (EP)

Sylvia Fedrick Syl’s Combo 2022 Independent (release date: 2022) www.sylviafedrick.com By Robert M. Marovich For as often as I’ve heard Chicago gospel singer Sylvia Fedrick, it didn’t strike me until listening to her EP Syl’s Combo 2022 that if you close your eyes, you would swear you are listening to a male high tenor like Maxwell or Prince. The best example of this is the opening (and the EP’s best) track, “Miracles.” To a relaxed but soulful groove, Fedrick offers her testimony to show that miracles do happen. And if you do, she sings, “come and receive your miracle.” Practicing ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week – October 3, 2022

“Holy” Grant Allison IV One Nation Under God Records (release date: July 31, 2019) www.grantallisoniv.com By Robert M. Marovich Once again, JGM digs deep into Chicago worship pastor Grant Allison’s catalogue and comes up with “Holy.” The atmospheric P&W outing is based on Philippians 2:10 and Hebrews 13:8. Its simple melody, singable chorus, and dramatic arrangement will set the congregation to hand waving. Released originally in 2019, it remains relevant in sound and message in 2022.

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week:  September 26, 2022

“The Prayer” Whitney April feat. Rodrick Dixon Arete Records (release date: September 23, 2022) https://music.empi.re/theprayer By Robert M. Marovich “The Prayer” is a pop song, not a sacred song per se, but it IS a prayer, and hearing it rendered by the angelic-voiced Whitney April teamed with the operatic power of Rodrick Dixon of Three Mo’ Tenors, is a refreshing alternative to the more common versions. Interestingly, it was the 2003 cover by Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams that caught Whitney’s fancy. In any event, “The Prayer,” produced by Adams’s music director, Rodney East, and released last Friday, is a ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week – September 5, 2022

“Wait On Jesus” Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir with Pastor DeAndre Patterson (release date: August 16, 2022) https://www.thechristiantabernaclechurch.com/ By Robert M. Marovich Renowned during the 1960s – 1990s, the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir of Chicago has returned after a twenty-year recording hiatus with “Wait On Jesus.” It has that boisterous Chicago gospel choir sound, complete with handclaps, tambourine, playful guitar riffs, and repetition in the vamp. Pastor DeAndre Patterson, a talented musician, radio announcer, and emcee, has taken the position of senior pastor at Christian Tabernacle. He has mighty shoes to fill in the church’s late founder and pastor, Rev. Maceo ...

Read More »

RIP Zadella “Mama” Curtis, Gospel Quartet Promoter

By Robert M. Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music was saddened to learn of the passing of Zadella “Mama” Curtis. She transitioned from earthly labor to heavenly reward yesterday, August 28, at age 73. Although Mama Curtis was best known for helping gospel quartets promote their music to radio, she started her gospel music career as a choir director. Born and raised in Chicago, Curtis attended Rayfield Missionary Baptist Church, where her grandparents were founding members. She sang her first solo at age three and began directing choirs at age twelve. Curtis graduated from Hyde Park High School and for ...

Read More »

Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir Celebrates Legacy

(Chicago, Illinois) After a twenty year hiatus, Chicago’s iconic Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir makes a triumphant reentry on the recording front with the release of the classic house rocker, Wait On Jesus. Christian Tabernacle’s music ministry goes back some six decades starting with its iconic founder, Reverend Maceo Woods, who fostered a greater appreciation for the hymns of the church with his immortal recording of “Amazing Grace” on Vee-Jay Records. Adding noted songwriter Elder George Jordan to the mix heightened the choir’s popularity. Jordan’s compositions constituted major Choir staples of the Sunday morning songbook, among them: “God Never Fails,” “Step ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week:  August 8, 2022

“Never Stop Trusting God” Lemmie Battles DAF Entertainment Group (release date: June 17, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Every song Lemmie Battles sings sounds like her personal testimony. Probably because every song is. Same with “Never Stop Trusting God.” Written by Percy Gray and produced by Jeral Gray Sr., the single features that Chicago-style pew-burning tempo and Battles’ trademark shouting and squalling. “I’ve had some good days and I’ve had some bad,” she declares, “but I never stop trusting God.” The indefatigable Battles’ second single on the DAF imprint makes it plain that no matter how many praise teams or ...

Read More »

“We Call” – Grant Allison IV

“We Call” Grant Allison IV One Nation Under God Records (Release date: April 14, 2020) www.grantallisoniv.com By Robert M. Marovich Though worship pastor Grant Allison IV has a new single (“Here”) and “We Call” has been around a while, I’m nevertheless struck by the loveliness and power of the latter song. “We Call” is orchestrated dramatically to fit its message of a community calling on Jesus during times of confusion. The chorus is deliberately hypnotic to capture the hushed vibe of a worship moment. It’s well-sung P&W with a pop flavor, courtesy of the thumping drums and recurrent electric guitar ...

Read More »

“Never Lost” – Tribl

“Never Lost” Tribl featuring Joe L. Barnes, Lizzie Morgan & Melvin Crispell III Tribl Music (album release date: November 11, 2021) www.tribl.com By Robert M. Marovich If you follow gospel music, you are aware of the rise of worship collectives like Elevation Worship, Nashville Life Music, and the recent Grammy Award-winning Maverick City Music. Worship collectives, which are often multicultural in composition, possess a style that falls somewhere between CCM and gospel. Sometimes this blend, designed to appeal to an increasingly multicultural megachurch environment, lands the groups’ music on the CCM and gospel charts at the same time. Tribl is ...

Read More »

“Jesus is Lord” – Calvin Bridges

“Jesus is Lord” Calvin Bridges PNEUMA/Spirit Recordings, Inc. (2022) www.calvinbridges.org By Robert M. Marovich Celebrated singer-songwriter and gospel music instructor Calvin Bridges, known for his hit composition “I Can Go to God in Prayer,” takes listeners to church again with “Jesus is Lord.” This song of worship brims with ‘80s Tommies swagger. The muscular-voiced Bridges engages in bracing call-and-response with the choristers who support him with full-throated energy. I can hear the song’s Hallelujahs lighting up radio post-Easter. “Jesus is Lord” was recorded live at Chicago’s historic Greater Harvest Baptist Church for Bridges’ 2019 solo project, Gospel Church Generations.

Read More »