The Journey

Briss CD'Urban inflections of jazz smoothity' is one way to describe the renaissance offering from Briss (aka William Brister Jr.).

Myriads of musical influences from funk to pop to jazz melt together on The Journey, creating a trippy blend of grooves and ballads that feels right, and testifies to God’s provision.

The solo debut for this Jersey City minister, singer, songwriter and producer is nevertheless a continuation of sorts, for he was one of the singers on the acclaimed C.D. Hawkins and Singers project from 1996. Joining him here are Clay Bogan III with multiple production and instrumental credits, as well as Dylan Kiner (production, arrangements)

True to album title, the project is thematic in its perspective of a Christian’s life. From parties to relationships to worship to more, it’s all here.

The flagship cut on the project is “Chariots and Horses”. The aching beauty of the melody is gently echoed in chorus by select backing vocalists, while Briss flys the flag to soaring heights with words that references Psalm 20:7: “some Briss CDtrust in chariots, some trust in horses, but I trust in the name of the Lord”. Bogan’s treatment of organ, piano and plucked strings lends the perfect vibe to this winner.

Briss know how to use what works, for other tracks follow along in the same groove. “We Can Party” successfully cloaks itself with a Sly Stone cape, linking up with a low-key simmering keyboard funk and making reference to getting your groove on like David.

“Nothin’ But The Blood” stands out, as Briss interprets the hymn with a soulful lyricism combined with wordless ad libs and the reflective tone of the song emphasized by the acoustic guitar of Pete McCann.

“I’m With You Always” is an encouraging work with journey themes, with prominently chunky acoustic percussion and occasional spoken Spanish. The project is rounded out with several other choice selections.

Retro without being out of date, and soulfully smooth without being too slick, Briss’ The Journey is worth taking.

Producers: Briss, Clay Bogan III, Dylan Kiner
album release date: August 2000
Agape Music Works

— reviewed by Stan North

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