Posts Tagged ‘ Gospel ’

Melvin Johnson – Little Red Wagon

Little-Red-Wagon-cover-art-1024x1024On February 17, 2023, Houston, TX pianist/composer Melvin Johnson will be offering a gift to the world of his debut album, Little Red Wagon, overflowing with musical parables on the family love and the life lessons they can provide. Johnson, who once thought of himself as only a live performer, found a unique hunger for recording and production during the COVID lockdown.

Reflecting about his album he has created here, Melvin Johnson concludes, “These first fully arranged instrumentals do not belong in any genre box, be it Jazz, Classical, Choral, Gospel, etc. If anything, what I hear in my heart and spirit is music for film – for mature musical audiences. Little Red Wagon is a road map to the next six collections of original music I’m recording in the future.”

Buy the album here.

Leticia Walker – Lit From Within

litfromwithinAfter Leticia Walker survived a massive stroke eight years ago that left her hemiplegic, she was unable to speak, sing or walk for a while. This new album, which she recorded herself, is therefore a triumph to overcome that condition and to be able to sing again.

Musical director and producer Steve Jankowski gave her the opportunity to work with a number of talented musicians, and pianist/organist Aaron Graves created 10 of the 11 arrangements for her.

Steve added jazz piano solos, and Aaron put together the rhythm section. Furthermore, Leticia got a kick out of bassist Steve Beskrone, drummer Leon Jordan, guitarist Richard Tucker, backing vocals Kimberly Davis, Audrey Martells and Deb Lyons, and saxophonist/flutist Doug DeHays.

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Bill Ortiz – Points Of View

pointsofviewTrumpeter Bill Ortiz may not be well known to the general public, but it is quite different in musician circles. His roots are firmly anchored in jazz. After all, he has played with greats like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter or Chick Corea. His performing activities also extend to musicians such as Boz Scaggs, Buddy Guy, Tony Toni Toné, En Vogue, Johny “Guitar” Watson and Destiny’s Child.

His first two solo albums, From Where I Stand (2009) and Highest Wish (2012), reflect this wide-ranging spectrum of activity. Bill Ortiz also feels at home in the realm of Latin music, with which he is connected by performances with Tito Puente and Pete Escovedo.

This musical career eventually led him to an intensive collaboration with Carlos Santana. He can be heard as lead trumpet player on Santana’s hit Smooth (1999) for example, which finally led to extensive touring work with the famed guitarist until 2016. Bill’s third solo album Points Of View (2022) is based on this musical period and adapts this style.

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Sam Levine – Best of Sam Levine: Hymns & Gospel Favorites

BestofSamLevineSam Levine is known for his tender and heartfelt renditions of contemporary hits. Sam has been featured in live performances with such superstars as Whitney Houston and Al Jarreau, has recorded with Michael McDonald, The Neville Brothers, and Amy Grant, and has contributed musically to such motion picture soundtracks as Honeymoon in Vegas and Sweet Dreams.

He currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Lee, and their children, Sybil and Reed.  His newest album is called Best of Sam Levine: Hymns & Gospel Favorites (2022).

Buy this CD at Barnes & Noble.

Melvin Smith – Blessed

BlessedGospel Jazz Music is a burgeoning genre consisting of the improvisational and African American influences of the sacred, Gospel music, and secular, Jazz. Melvin Smith is a master at both. A consummate saxman, his talent has placed him on stages with artists such as Kirk Whalum, Jonathan Butler, Oleta Adams, Norman Connors, Fred Hammond, BeBe Winans, Israel Houghton and Byron Cage. A skilled musician, who was a performer at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival – at the age of thirteen, Melvin is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and the City of New York – Queens College.

Now he is taking his education and experience and pouring it into his first Gospel Jazz project, Blessed. available now on digital media outlets everywhere, Blessed is a collage of Gospel music favorites. A five-song EP, Blessed, features the Fred Hammond hit, “We’re Blessed.” A long-time fan of the urban praise and worship icon, Smith’s remake is a unique take on the church classic. Pulling from the musical influences of Washington, DC, he infused Go-Go into the song, providing the listener with an African-inspired praise experience. “We’re Blessed” holds a special place in the musician’s heart. “This song has reverberated in my soul from the first time I heard it in 1998,” Melvin said. “’We’re Blessed’ is a song I live by, and it’s a song that inspires me to this day.”

Smith features other well-known Gospel tunes on the record as well including Lamar Campbell’s “More Than Anything”, Mary Mary’s “Walking” and Vashawn Mitchell’s “Nobody Greater”. Flowing from one familiar cut to another, Smith’s saxophone tells a story with each song on the newly released EP. His tone, interpretation and execution make listening to Blessed a memorable musical experience.

Download the album here.

dee Brown – Deep Secrets

DeepSecretsGuitarist and songwriter dee Brown has had to cope with many private low strokes in recent years. When you lose many beloved relatives, what remains is all the more valuable. Among the precious things are undoubtedly the musical footprints that you leave in the history of music.

That are his albums No Time To Waste in 2006, A Little Elbowroom (2009), Brown Sugar Honey-Coated Love (2014) and Remembering You (2018). With Deep Secrets follows a new gem this year. Behind the mysterious-sounding title is nothing less than dee’s belief in God, to which he explicitly professes.

He finds support in his cause from numerous musicians listed in the credits. The album opens with the lively Love You Too. You can notice in the happy-voiced song that Dee has found his zest for life again. The notes literally bubble out of his guitar.

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Stabe Wilson – The Comforter

Passionate, soul stirring and eclectic are all adjectives describing the musical styling of saxophonist Stabe Wilson.

Hailing from Oakland, California, Stabe’s interest in the saxophone began at the early age of ten. After performing at his father’s Oakland church at age eleven, Stabe knew he was called to share his talent with the masses. Stabe studied music at Chabot Community College, College of Alameda and San Francisco State University. While a student at College of Alameda, he was privileged to be a member of the colleges’ Big Band under the direction of legendary jazz pianist Bill Bell.  In addition to his solo work with established recording artists, Stabe also serves as the leader of the Stabe Wilson Band. The Stabe Wilson Band has made multiple appearances at Oakland’s Art & Soul Festival, City of Oakland Sunday in the Redwoods Concert Series and the KBLX Stone Soul Concert.  Whether performing as leader of the Stabe Wilson Band or backing up established recording artists, in an intimate venue, arena or spirit filled church one thing is guaranteed…your ears are in for a pleasurable musical journey while Stabe Wilson is in command of his saxophone.

His new album is entitled The Comforter (2020) and a musical tribute to the Hawkins. You can get the album here.

Keith Mason – I Surrender All

What can be said of the very few artists who innovate without intent or pre-meditated recognition? Keith Mason also known as “Top Hat” to his peers has finally figured it out. He knows his only validation comes from Christ Jesus and his talents blessed each time he lifts His name in song. Keith and “Top Hat” exist in the same musical realm and are humbled by the Holy Spirit where all inspiration is received.

Ronald Jackson comments about Keith’s new album I Surrender All: Each track here is a feel-good one. Whether up-tempo or mid-tempo, they all light a fire within you and call on you to acknowledge and appreciate the funk-laced groove.

𝘐 𝘚𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘈𝘭𝘭 will not be available via Amazon or ITunes until May 23 but may now be pre-ordered directly from Keith Mason’s website at until further notice.

TransJazz – Joy For The Journey

Joy For The Journey, the TransJazz band’s third CD album, brings together the talents of a very diverse group of musicians. When their first CD, Transitions, was released in 2004, the band was made up of five members. Since that time, TransJazz has expanded to ten members at the time of this CD release – male and female, from diverse churches and backgrounds, and of different generations. The members are also spread out widely over the metro-New York City area.

More than a band, TransJazz is a community of people who enjoy coming together, performing, recording, and contributing to original music compositions and arrangements. The results are unique words that speak to people at different places in their spiritual journey. The message of the album is that real joy is offered everyone by a God who is really there.

You can download the songs on CDBaby.

Kirk Whalum – Humanité

Sax legend Kirk Whalum is as I already stated in another review a wanderer between the two worlds of smooth jazz and Gospel music. With his new album Humanité he breaks through this scheme.

Humanité is an album, whose music is formed in mosaic shape by the musicians and their involved personalities they have brought in to the recording process. Among many others the following musicians are participating: Japanese jazz pianist Keiko Matsui, the young bass phenomenon Barry Likumahuwa, gifted singer/songwriter Grace Sahertian and global pop star Indonesian singer/actor Afgansyah Reza, known to many as Afgan, vocalist/guitarist Zahara, one of South Africa’s biggest stars, Kasiva Mutwa of Nairobi, and the veteran UK jazz vocalist Liane Carroll.

Curtis Mayfield’s song Move On Up has lost none of its radiance since its inception in the ’70s. Especially in the last months you can meet his song in ever new variations. Kirk Whalum goes his own way with his interpretation which is settled near a jazzy attitude in a Weather Report way. Singer Brendan Reilly is sensationally excellent.

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