Allen & Allen
Love Sweet Love
Allen & Allen are back in 2001 in a very real way. With Love Sweet Love, the dynamic duo of Bruce Allen and Allen Wiggins continue their call to hold up the blood-stained banner in the inspirational instrumental department.Producers: Allen & Allen
album release date: March, 2001
Having to combat a riff and run addicted audience is no easy task, but Allen & Allen take it to task and remind us where many of those vocal acrobatics first came from. Love Sweet Love is a good mix of original tunes, contemporary Gospel favorites and standards from the pages of the hymnbook, and is a well-rounded project that invites even those who are not cozied up to instrumentals to follow along.
On their tribute cut to, and named after, the late Groover Washington, bassman Lawrence Buckner takes center stage for a moment of bass lead splendor! The rare opportunity for a bass to step out is not wasted. Buckner stretches out and tantalizes. Another original tune written by Allen features a notable lead by Pastor Leofric Thomas.
In addition to the original tune selections, A2 picks the right familiar tunes for us to sing along to. "Holy is the Lamb", written by Fred White and originally done by Oleta Adams, highlights a glistening guitar by Clay Benjamin.
OTHER ALBUMS WITH ALLEN & ALLEN FEATURED ON THEM
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to check out the related CD reviews, each which feature or have Allen & Allen appearing as guests.
On "What the World Needs Now" (from which the title of this project is derived), Mark and Joey Kibble of Take 6 lend their signature vocals. The Burt Bacharach classic has been presented in many ways over the years, but the spin put on this version is worth checking out. Fred Hammond’s “When We Praise” translates fluidly with alto sax lead by Wiggins.
Instrumental brilliance permeates the entire project. "What a Friend We Have In Jesus" puts Allen on a noteworthy Rhodes, and on Donnie McClurkin’s "Jesus The Mention of Your Name", R. Cory Johnson lays out a spotless live drum track. Wiggins flows with grace on the alto sax on this tune, as well rendering a sparkling interpretation without removing the essence of the song.
On another contemporary standard, Allen & Allen translate Darius Brooks’ "Safe in His Arms" so eloquently, you almost don’t miss The Tommies.
Both men ordained pastors wouldn’t let this project stray too far from the hymnbook. "Jesus Loves Me" is kept spectacularly simple. One instrument at a time presents the melody, first acoustic keys and then the soprano sax, finally coming together in a collective reprise that says, 'yes He does!' without actually saying it. "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" is a favorite public domain tune creatively interpreted by Allen & Allen on this project.
Saving what is perhaps their sweetest project yet for themselves, Allen & Allen put this one out as the premiere release on their own label, Allen & Allen Music Group. A2 successfully make jazz palatable to the undeveloped or unappreciative ear, while preserving and presenting musical excellence.
Their ability to combine versatility, and skill without abandoning commerciality, gives this one a carefully-crafted edge that will persuade whoever it is who said, 'We don’t need no music!', that indeed we do, and that sometimes, that’s more than enough.
AAMG Music Group
reviewed by Melanie Clark —
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