Allen and Allen
A New Beginning

When people speak of "gospel jazz", inevitably Bruce Allen and Allen T. Wiggins, better known as Allen & Allen, become the topic of conversation, since many consider them, along with Ben Tankard, to be the pioneers of this relatively new branch of gospel music. (Technically, these guys aren't simply a Allen and Allen duo, since Allen on keyboards and Wiggins on the saxophone round out their sound with an able crew of percussive , bass and guitar experts.)

In this new disc by the 'duo', they return from the urban detour that their last album took them on Come Sunday, and now press towards more of traditional jazz sound, with cuts such as "Soul" and "Poetic Shepherd (23rd Psalm)", which is punctuated by soft sing-song spoken word. Most will recognize the cover of Earth, Wind & Fire's "True Devotion", but after that, the material on this consists of originals only. With sizzling grooves such as the vocalized "Fly Away" and "Morning Star", Allen & Allen leave no doubt as to their jazz credentials.

Hoping to garner more than simply background play on gospel radio, with this album Allen & Allen have chosen a route and a sound that may very well open the doors to the wide world of mainstream jazz.

Producers: Allen & Allen and Maurice Henderson
CGI Records

reviewed by Stan North

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