Melodies Of My Heart
Angie Winans solidifies her presence in Gospel with a marvelous debut in a somewhat new focus for her smooth jazz.Producers: Victor and Cedric Caldwell
album release date: April 24, 2001
Certainly the ‘jazz’ classification is different for this second-youngest of the Winans Family; for sure the emphasis on her cool piano stylings throughout the project is a first.
But for those that have had an ear to her work over the past years, a familiar bell of recognition rings from the first few minutes of this disc. Musically and vocally for she sings in a smooth jazz style frequently on the project Melodies Of My Heart retains the lovely low-register vibe we’ve heard from her previously.
Packaging the entire album together is production from the award-winning team of Cedric and Victor Caldwell (who also contribute musically to the project). And joining Winans for the soft jams are a supporting cast that includes Darwin Hobbs, brother Marvin Winans, Kevin Whalum, Kayla Parker, Dwuane Starling and several notable others. Take 6’s Mark and Joey Kibble included.
The acappella specialists spring their flava on the lead single from this album, "The Lord’s Prayer". It’s an original from Winans (who writes nearly all the material on the project), with a catchy rising melody line backed by the Kibble’s boppy effects and a flowing rhythm track with Winan’s one-hand piano woven through it.
Another hit is "Changing My Whole Life", with Darwin Hobbs tossing in his impossibly soulful vocals on the chorus. Winans sings new and moving lyrics to the ageless tune of "Killing Me Softly", first made famous by Roberta Flack. The words have a personal feel and are pure poetry.
The wonderful theme of God’s personally-directed love for us and reflections of our love back to Him permeates the entire album. Indeed, the title of the album is a perfect fit for that theme. "He Loves Me", with soft acoustic percussion and guitar as a backdrop, stars as piano/vocals vehicle for Winans’ expression, as does the slowly unfolding "Spirit Lullaby" with its stacked vocals.
"Let’em Go" is the funkiest of the album’s 11 tracks, reminiscent of something you might find on the Angie & Debbie debut. The title refers to leaving burdens at Calvary, and percolates with steadiness and ease, as Marvin Winans tosses in ad lib vocals at the end.
Instrumentally-prominent cuts include "Mack Avenue" and the funky, bassline-driven "Theme From ‘Little Debbie’". Both feature Kirk Whalum on sax.
Another prominent theme on the album (and obviously brought home through the appealing liner notes photography) is love for family and children. "Roses Again" is penned by Winans pens in a moving reference to her three young children, and "Tribute to Lady Wisdom" touches on Proverbs-based thanks for Godly wisdom.
Equally focused on cool vocals as on her work behind the keyboard, on some cuts, Winans rhetorically and softly asks, “Can I play?”, as if asking for permission.
Play on Angie, because you surely can.
Against The Flow Records
reviewed by Stan North —
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