A. Jeffrey LaValley
...From My Heart

As a songwriter, keyboardist, producer and arranger, Minister A. Jeffrey LaValley has supported a span of Gospel artists and projects familiar to nearly everyone.

On ...From My Heart, LaValley takes a rare solo opportunity to offer up a stylistic collection of ...From My Heart CDkeyboard/synth creations that showcases a musical side of him known by few.

Recorded in the midi room of the famed Studio A in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, LaValley takes producer credits, with engineering from Steve Capp. Sound quality is impeccable.

Using a variety of synths (Korg DW-8000, Ensonic SQ 01 Plus, Yamaha DX-7), LaValley opts for that old school keyboard punch. Rife with a variety of effects and fills, the overall vibe is at once refreshing and eclectic, with innovation marking the entirety.

“I can't classify it as "gospel jazz," he says, “because jazz it isn't. I feel that it's just music to relax by, to meditate on, to contemplate and appreciate the goodness of God. After my physical challenges over the past year and half, it's just my statement of thanks to God for yet being alive.”

 CD "This is my first instrumental project. I've worked on more than 160 projects, but this is the first one I can say is mine."

"I like all the songs [blush]. My personal favorites are "Magnify Your Name," "Breeze”, “Lover” and “Hymn Medley”. When the concept of “Breeze” came, I was sitting in my window trying to figure out what to name it, and a refreshing breeze blew through..."
“Magnify Your Name” is intro’d with a low-riding funky line as brassy chords are overlaid into the praise groove. LaValley’s joy is expressed in happy chord changes on “Fullness of Joy”; things get hype and raucous on “Dance” which features a wonderful effect that sounds like harmonic cat purrs moving up and down the scales.

The title track “From My Heart” is more contemplative, meditative even, with sustained chording anchoring the piece as the light and simple melody enters in on top.

The hymn tune “I Surrender All” has the familiar memory of the tune tucked way back in the recesses of the song (with an oboe-like improvised melody line), but with punctuated rhythms popping up everywhere, the feel of the piece is unique.

Other hymn interpretations crop up, with “Lover” being a standout. Based on “Jesus, Lover of my Soul”, this one is rhythmic-based and brings in sparring piano and horn lines. The album concludes with “Hymn Medley” which places the focus squarly on the classical piano sound.

There’s nothing quite like this project on the Gospel shelves. Your collection would be glad to make room.

Producer: A. Jeffrey LaValley
album release date: October, 2001
Candied Jamm Music

— reviewed by Stan North

  All content in GospelFlava © copyright 2001. No information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed written consent of GospelFlava.com. All rights reserved.

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