Gospel Instrumental Albums (2001)
Part One

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet:
Praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance:
Praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals:
Praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.
Praise ye the Lord.

—Psalm 150:3-6

Praising God with the instruments is biblical; King David was skilled on the harp, God saw fit to use trumpets to help Joshua in fighting the battle of Jericho.

Instrumental Diversity
Katherine Burton No longer confined to sax and piano, Gospel instrumentals can be found coming from the violin, as shown above with Katherine Burton's wonderful album, I'll Fly Away.

You can also find Gospel albums that focus on the harp and drums.
In todayís Gospel recording scene, Gospel artists include those who play their praise as well as those who sing it. Solo projects are now being released regularly. In recent years, and particularly in the past few months, a glance at the retail shelves will reveal albums from anointed players of the harp, guitar, organ, saxophone, drums and more.

After shining the spotlight on Gospel instrumental projects a few years ago (see review feature from 1999), an update is more than overdue. Since then, there have been projects from mainstays such as Ben Tankard and Tim Bowman, plus a Grammy nomination for saxman Kirk Whalumís Gospel project, Hymns In The Garden.

Itís from pioneers such as these that many others have obtained their inspiration, due largely to the support that they have given to others around them. In fact, no less than three recent instrumental projects have Whalum included as a guest artist.

So check it out as we look into a slew of CDs from names both new and familiar. There's new material from Allen and Allen, Angie Winans, Moses Tyson Jr. and a whole many more. This is the first in an extensive a two-part series.

Full length reviews are available for each of the albums below. Click on the links.

Allen and Allen
Love Sweet Love
Allen and Allen CDNow on their own label, the jazz duo bring us another project full of the sound that brought them their acclaim. This time they bring several special guests on board for the keyboard and saxophone ride. Full review.

Rob Maletick
Hand in Hand
Rob Maletick CDRob Maletick shows himself to be a master of expression on his instrument; so fluid is his style that you frequently forget that this sound is not a voice youíre hearing. And it helps to be surrounded by gifted sideman. Full review.

J.D. Blair
J.D. Blair CDIf it's drumming you want, then JD Blair's eclectic project proves to be your thing. The man's been behind some of Gospel's biggest live shows, and you no doubt have heard his stuff without realizing it. Unless you've been schooling yourself in the album credits. Full review.

Wayman Tisdale
Face to Face
Wayman Tisdale CDBassman Wayman Tisdale slam dunks a new project, one that features a Gospel cut with Out of Eden among other things. Groovy and authentic, it's a feature of our "Last Song on the B Side" continuing series. Full review.

Ron Brown
In The Spirit
Ron Brown CDA quiet storm is in the forecast everytime you pop some Ron Brown into your CD system. Joined by Kirk Whalum and several gifted others, this project comes with plenty of cozy vocals as well, as hymn after hymn are freshened up with smooth jazz inflections. Full review.

Moses Tyson Jr.
Moses Tyson CDHitting the charts of late, Moses Tyson Jr. brings home his organ sounds, decked with several vocal cuts from names such as Edwin Hawkins, Stephanie Bolton and Lawrence Matthews. Full review.

Angie Winans
Melodies Of My Heart
Angie Winans CDGoing solo, Angie Winans puts out a jazzy project that hits all the right notes, combining her cool piano stylings with lovely vocals and gorgeously tender compositions. Some urban edge here too... Full review.

Tim Bowman
Tim Bowman CDGospel guitar is the focus of Tim Bowman, with a range of covers and originals —all smooth. Noted session players drop in to lend support and the result is worth a listen. Full review.

Kirk Whalum
Hymns In The Garden
Kirk Whalum CDOn the Grammy-nominated project, saxophonist Kirk Whalum joins with John Stoddart on production, handling alto, tenor and soprano versions of his instrument. He refreshes the familiar hymns of yore with an approachable jazz stamp. Full review.

ó reviewed by GospelFlava.com Staff ó

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