Music & Arts Love Fellowship Conference
All The Angels
It seems that nearly everyone has a favorite Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar project. These workshop recordings continue to be a mainstay in Gospel, consistently filled with glorious new song material, featuring some of the scene’s most respected names, and introducing new artists and songwriters to the fold.Producer: Edwin Hawkins
album release date: June, 2003
The latest in the series is titled All The Angels, and features the Music & Arts Love Fellowship Conference Mass Choir, recorded at Bishop Walter Hawkins' Love Fellowship Church in June, 2002.
The 2002 edition of the annual event brought together hundreds, not only from across North America, but also significant numbers from Europe and Japan.
Mass choir co-ordinator Jonathan Grier assembles the mass choir to maximize performance (hear audio). Veterans David Blakely, Derrick Hall, Joel Smith, Jonathan Dubose Jr., Keith Tribitt (see his own album review) and Jerry Jordan take their places behind the instruments.
The album’s lead single is also the title track, and features Edwin Hawkins himself, in duet with long time Hawkins Family collaborator Brenda Roy. It’s been a very long time since we’ve heard Hawkins take lead vocals, and the song, also written by him, is more than worthy of the occasion. “All The Angels” features a beautiful melody which unfolds in balladic style to describe the incredible degree of praise that is due to our God and our Saviour, such that even the angels bow down to worship Him.
In fact, the entire project is rife with slow gems. “I Love You” from the pen of Alerica Anderson has Jonathan Dubose Jr. seated on a stool directly in front of the choir, with acoustic guitar as the choir-only composition is sustained by a powerfully building soprano melodic motif.
Another is “Holy Is The Lamb”, a ballad written and sung by Pastor J.P. Morgan, and resounding with an infectious melody that instills peace and awe while encouraging worship.
The uptempo cuts are highlighted by “Shout Worthy”, which is ably led by Marisa Kurosawa and stands as one of the very few Gospel recordings to feature lead by a Japanese vocalist. It’s a fueled praise that as opening cut, serves to set the reverent tone of the album.
Antoine Timmons takes the mic on “Too Close”, delivering a powerful interpretation of the familiar lyrics set to Jerome Howard’s inspired new melody. And sisters Tabrecca Woodside and Charmise Woodside-Desire trade lines on Montage Pheloan’s energetic “Give Him Your Life”.
The project is also available in DVD format. The visual version does an excellent job at portraying the reality of a workshop choir recording. There are no pretenses to flashiness, it’s simply a refereshing, true-to-life audiovisual experience that brings you directly into the essence of the choir as they present the ten songs that comprise the album.
Three songs snips from Edwin Hawkins's album are available as RealAudio downloads. If you don't have RealAudio, be sure to obtain your free RealAudio player software first, by clicking on the blue RealAudio icon on the right.
To download the song snips, simply click on the highlighted text below, let stream on RealAudio, and enjoy.
reviewed by Stan North —
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