The name DeAndre Patterson will ring bells for anyone who has followed the vibrant Chicago choir scene over recent years.
As director of the Progressive Radio Choir, Patterson has made his mark in the crowded field of the Chi-town choir, with memorable cuts such as "I Made It" and "He's Alive".
For his solo debut on Tyscot Records, Patterson steps out with fifteen songs, many of them self-penned. He is supported by an assembly of well-known band players and his Progressive Radio Choir mainstays. With production from Tracy Williamson, Donald Woods and Percy Gray, the focus is on energetic, traditional-rooted Gospel, dipped into contemporary flava.
Mid-project, Patterson devotes four blended tracks to an ole-time medley of songs that he dedicates in title as the "Mama June Medley", stringing together four church hymns with the word 'sweet' in their titles, including "Oh Sweet Wonder" and "Tis So Sweet". Donald Woods's piano accompaniment heightens the appeal and you can almost feel that hard wooden pew underneath you.
Gerald Robinson pens the contemplative, slow ballad of praise, "Grateful". Patterson takes his time with this one, as the backing vocalists put breath into their voices in echoing the lyrics.
Flowing out of this song is similarly paced Chamber, written by VaShawn Mitchell. With a subtly different musical character (courtesy Derrick Buckingham's flecks of acoustic guitar), the song is worshipful. The lyrics refer to the comfort in 'the chamber of the Lord'.
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On the rambunctious tip is "Give Him Glory", a cut filled with brassy keyboard programming written by Percy Gray. This praise rouser is designed to raise crowds to their feet. The mid-tempo, and slightly funky "I Believe" has Patterson running through God`s promises.
Other songs to note are the churchy "I'm Movin'" and the ballad "Trust His Heart".
The album comes filled with extra features, including access to photos of DeAndre Patterson, a DeAndre Patterson buddy icon, bio and a computer-accessible video version of 'Tis So Sweet'.
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Producer: Tracy Williamson, Percy Gray, Donald Woods
album release date: February, 2004
review by Stan North —
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