Jarell Smalls & Co.
From the CD A New Season
Southern Wave Music Group /
Get Ready Music Group (release date: May 19, 2017)
By Bob Marovich
By evoking Grandma at the outset, Jarell Smalls gives the appropriate old-school pedigree to “Prayer Room.” Then, to a rockabilly-guitar-meets-Pentecostal-beat, he and his group jump into the congregational classic, “Come in the Prayer Room.”
The Charleston, South Carolina-born Smalls scats, vamps, chants, and shouts like a quartet singer. With about two minutes remaining on the recording, the Company moves from the back to the front. The singers shift the melody, but not the chugging rhythm, to deliver a humble lyric that one might hear in a prayer room.
It’s the kind of instructive, inclusive, and fun selection that promises to put a smile on the face of listeners. It’s what makes gospel gospel.