Gideon Band
The Experience

The Experience CDA good live urban band on disc is a rare thing. The R&B world has one in Mint Condition, and those in Gospel who’ve heard Divine Nature’s sleeper project (see review) have sat up and taken note. Now there’s another one: Gideon Band.

The sound coming from this eight member DC-based group is diverse, yet certainly rooted in the elements of soulful expression, both vocal and instrumental. Various combinations of organ, keys, Rhodes, trumpet, several percussion and programming meld to create a complexly woven carpet spread underneath frequently wailing vocals from Cornelius Berkley, Warren Jones and Michael Logan.

Titled The Experience, the album is divied up into four segments: praise, intimacy, worship and celebration, for a total experience of 17 tracks. Audience participation is prominent and enthusiastic throughout.

Kicking things off are three praise tracks, containing voice box and integrated samples from both Prince and Mint Condition (O’Dell The Experience CDand Stokley’s “Raise Up”). ‘Bouncing with the saints’ has never been so hype, as the instrumentation is horn filled and dense, particularly on “Praise Him”.

The intimacy tracks are counted as five, and true to definition, offer up some intensely personal lyricism. “It Hurts” stands out especially. Speaking to situations where ‘it hurts real bad and you feel like it can’t go on”, the band testifies that “Jesus is the answer”. It’s not a sugar-coated rhyme, or a glib phrase. Coming from Gideon Band, the combination of sensitive soaring vocals and sampling from Mario Winans’ song “I Don’t Know” give it a ring of genuine authenticity. Using the example of a serious relationship breakup in the song, they don’t shy from the fact that such situations are extremely painful. Yet this doesn’t alter the fact that there still is hope; there is still Jesus. A real testimony.

The worship segment changes things up, beginning with “We Worship You”, a smooth, The Experience CDkeys-focused track with a shuffling, marching percussion, which leads into the prayerful and harmony laden “You Are Lord”. This latter half of the album is simply jammed with glorious praise in a live band jam kinda way: “His Name Is Jesus Christ” and “Closer” are each infectious in melody and usher in a true tone of worship straight away.

The album closes with trio of celebration songs. After bringing the audience straight into the band’s praise with call and response on “I Don’t Know”, the album ends with the novel new millenial jam, “Take A Chance”.

Powerful in lyrics and powerful in anointed live production, making The Experience your own would be a good thing.

Producers: Cornelius Berkley, Eddie Henderson, Michael Richardson, Warren Jones
album release date: August, 2000
GMG World Media

— reviewed by Stan North

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