Known to most gospel audiences for his work with Israel Houghton, participation in the Gospel Goes Classical series, or for his hit "Falling In Love With Jesus" (with Kirk Whalum), Butler is best known to the world for his work as a jazz guitarist.
He brings all of his musical experiences together on his latest solo release, So Strong. Fourteen tracks strong, Butler uses his 19th solo release to present a balanced picture of life, love, and strength.
Butler handles the production for the lion's share of this release, fusing original pieces with several classics. The album's title cut reflects on the power of strong, sustainable love. Infectious in nature, this track gets both an Urban AC mix and a Steppers mix.
Angie Stone lends her vocals to the slow jam "Be Here With You", serving as the ideal compliment to Butler's tenor lead. This is another great love song that couples will use for years to come.
Butler's jazz fusion roots take center stage during the mid-tempo tune "Make Room for Me", where his acoustic guitar handles the lead melody providing the ideal summer night's soundtrack. The acoustic guitar takes the lead stands out in the relaxing instrumental presentation "Avia/For My Baby". One listen and you're quickly reminded that Butler is VERY comfortable in this arena.
Butler's cover of the Johnny Nash classic "I Can See Clearly Now" is a definitive keeper. The soft rock classic is given a jazz and gospel tinged rendition that brims with authenticity.
Jazz saxophonist Dave Koz lends his skills to "Make Room For Me" and the reverent "I Pay Respect".
For those looking for an inspirational presentation, look no further than "You've Got To Believe In Something". Based on Romans 8:28, Butler reminds all of the power of faith and hope in a challenging environment.
Balance is the name of the game for this release from Butler. From jazz to R&B to gospel, the Cape Town, South Africa native presents a well-rounded picture of life and love with So Strong. This effort is a worthy addition to your musical collection.
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Rendezvous/Mack Avenue Records
— review by Gerard Bonner —
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