Darius Brooks & SDM Incorporated
Your Will

It’s so appropriate that this headlining album from Darius Brooks starts off with a remake of one of his most well known songs.

“My Mind’s Made Up” became a block buster hit for the famed Thompson Community Singers (see review of their 2000 album). Brooks gives it a rework here, with a new arrangement and updated, kickin’ bandwork under the direction of Percy Bady and played by names you know (Bady himself, Maurice Fitzgerald, Jonathan DuBose Jr., Oscar Seton).

Your Will CDIt was his close association with Rev. Milton Brunson’s famed Chicago choir that Brooks, as songwriter and musical director, became well known. On Your Will he introduces SDM Incorporated, a mid-size vocal crew with talent.

Under Brooks' steady production hand, SDM comes through with a nice balance of blended live Gospel sound and contemporary inflections. Also supplementing vocally on the disk are Desmond Pringle, DeAndre Patterson and Shawn McLemore.

Brooks’ mastery of melody resonates through this project, with cuts such as “Grace” and “When You Feel The Need to Love Somebody” deserving heavy radio recognition. There’s also the work of soloist David Johnson, who leads soufully on “A Promise To Me” and makes it a memorable ride. He reminds all that “He made a promise to take care of me, and he will not take it back”.

The contemporary feel is all over “Lock Down”, with Brooks on vocal lead hardly needing the ample band props of crashing rhythms and busy bass and guitar. On the opposite side of the coin is “Brighter Day”, the project’s sole studio piece. Your Will CDThe smooth pipes of Kasma and Riisa Rawlins make this a sunny track, with programmed strings and sparkles of soft percussive effects in the background.

Other vibes on the disk include the modified island rhythms of “Stay Up On The Wall”, on which Brooks exhorts that when we’re up against the wall, to hold on and simply stay there (Ephesians 6:13).

Darius Brooks now has responsibilities that include being musical director for Rev. Jesse Jackson. That’s an honor and no doubt involves a busy schedule.

Gospel is very grateful that he found the time to make such a quality project as Your Will.

Producer: Darius Brooks
album release date: July, 2000
Red Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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