Read more reviews of Christmas CDs that have been released in 2001. Christmas reviews from previous years are also still available.
Norman Hutchins & JDI Christmas
Bishop Noel Jones’ church choir, Greater Bethany Voices of Judah under the direction of Jonathan T. Grier, is featured throughout this Christmas collection that also includes two of JDI Records’ brightest stars Rev. Norman Hutchins and Minister Chester D.T. Baldwin.Producers: Jason White, James Roberson
album release date: November, 2001
But first, there’s some great surprises on other cuts. Nicoe Potts (one of the Kurt Carr Singers), gets in front of the choir on “Joy To The World”, a new and smoking arrangement from Jason White that shouts the news in jumping choir song structure.
To say that DeNetria Champ takes charge on the powerful album-closing version of “Silent Night” is to put it mildly. Starting with a smooth simmer and then injecting a deep vocal charge into the cut (and working off jazzed keyboards and sounds from sax man Donald Hayes), this Jason White version of the Franz Gruber classic goes down as unforgettable.
Other songs on this rather short 8-song project include the original “He Has Come” from White. It’s an upbeat, traditional-sounding and choir-prominent number that features alto Geneen White who seemingly comes from nowhere to impact.
Chester D.T. Baldwin throws his vocal might behind “Go Tell It On The Mountain” and Toya Smith ably covers Mariah Carey’s tender and melodic ballad, “Jesus Born On This Day”.
Topping things off is Rev. Norman Hutchins on the album’s choir jam, “Emmanuel”. Look for this one to quickly become popular on the church choir circuit. Hutchins vocally guides the song which begins with the band softly ticking over before the hook-laden chorus begins with some wonderful chord changes and modulations.
Hutchins’ other contribution is the vastly different “Holy Lamb of God”, a laid-back solo ballad highlighted by a subtle rhythm track and Hutchin’s intricate fingerwork on acoustic guitar.
Gospel music at Christmas is a natural, and this album goes a long way to satisfying that need!
reviewed by Stan North —
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