RECAP: Vashawn Mitchell
Live Recording (2009)

One of the most prolific songwriters and vocalists over the last decade has been VaShawn Mitchell. Penning songs such as "It's Only A Test", "What's To Come Is Better Than What's Been", "My Worship Is For Real", and "For My Good", Mitchell's material has quickly become the soundtrack for many Sunday morning congregations.

With great anticipation, the eyes of the industry focused on the Atlanta area where Mitchell & Friends displayed the latest in his storied career last August (2009), as Higher Living Christian Church played host to Mitchell's latest live recording, a CD/DVD effort titled Triumphant on EMI Gospel —and GOSPELflava.com was in the house for all of the happenings.

VaShawn MitchellA slew of artists and entertainment personnel were present and ready to lend support for the event. Spotted in the crowd were Mark Hubbard, Teresa Hairston, B. Chase Williams, Darlene McCoy, Anthony Brown, BET.com's Torrence Glenn, Pastor Michael Brooks, and Jawn Murray among others.

The evening began with new artist NaTasha Cobb delivering a brief worship session, followed by Pastor William Murphy III opening with a powerful prayer. Following a welcome from Pastor Andre Landers, pastor of the host church, the recording was off to the races.

The atmosphere was charged with great excitement, as Higher Living Christian Church is Mitchell's current church home, where he serves as Minister of Worship. Mitchell hit the stage with a set and a sound that marks a new level in his writing and ministry.

The first half of the evening departed from the signature Chicago sound that defined Mitchell's previous work. Instead, the songs presented had a hybrid sound that could be described as worship with a urban pop flair. Make no mistake, it's a new sound for Mitchell and it works SO well!!

Photo Gallery
Photos Check out the photo gallery from the Live Recording (photo credit: Gerard Bonner of Bonnerfide):

Photo Gallery from Live Recording

The award-winning Daniel Weatherspoon served as Music Director for the evening.

To hit several highlights from, "I Need You" was a great uptempo cut that featured Mitchell and the outstanding vocals of Tanesha Jefferson —a hit in the making. "Chasing After You" featured New G's Lajuanese Robertson and is a powerful and passionate worship cut.

One of the definitive high points of the night came during the track "Searched All Over". Rick Watford began on acoustic guitar with Mitchell singing of God's power and sovereignty. The vamp simply reminded all that there's "nobody greater than You". Before the song's end, Mitchell sung the chorus of "How Great Thou Art", "Lord I Lift Your Name On High", and "I Love You Jesus", ending all with the stanza "Nobody Greater Than You". Even Pastor William Murphy III joined Murphy with his classic "Praise Is What I Do" and ended with "Nobody Greater Than You". People found their way to the altar bowing and worshipping in a moment of clearly unscripted worship.

Following this song was "All Is Well", led by Jason Woods. Again, Mitchell's ability to pen and present songs that contain great social relevance and scriptural encouragement is evident. This song tells of adopting the posture that "All Is Well" in the face of life's mountains and valleys. Ted Winn joined the ensemble with his vocal prowess, merging the hymn "It Is Well" into "All Is Well", and was followed by Lecresia Campbell, who just belted out "It Is Well" in its traditional hymn format, complete with verses and backed by the Hammond B-3. Yes folks. That turned things into old school, Chicago church!!

The second half of the recording was equally exciting, with Mitchell introducing the funky, dance-filled title cut. Following that came "Can't Take My Joy Away", which, as Mitchell described, is a "skate night groove". Indeed, as throwback to a 70s smooth skate groove, this song struck a chord with the audience and saw Jessica Reedy totally change the game with her incredible jazzy alto vocals.

The house went totally into worship with the empowering song "Be Fruitful", which featured the memorablelyric "it's not only your time but your turn." The song is a certifiable hit and let to a strong period of ministry within the house.

Bishop Larry Trotter then took to the stage with a strong intro to "The Blood Still Works", which featured the incomparable Lisa Page Brooks on lead vocals. What a fitting ending to an incredible night, as Brooks literally brought the house down. Artists and audience members filled the altar area, first in amazement at Brooks' vocal command and then under the heavy anointing that filled the building.

Needless to say, this recording was wildly memorable. While we all anxiously await the release of this project in August 2010, check out the pictorial recap of the evening's event.

— reviewed by Gerard Bonner

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