Keith Brooks and New Creation
Perfect Peace

Newly signed to AIR Gospel, but on the scene for a decade, Keith Brooks and New Creation continue to inflict damage on the choir scene, this time with Perfect Peace.

Minting a mass vocal sound that brings out the twin forces of strong vibrato and tight phrasing, the Atlanta-based community group surges to force-dom with one of the tightest bands on the scene. Credit musical direction (and production) by keyboard master Derrik Cooper, who marks the set with Spencer Lackey on organ, Stacey Ellis on drums and Darrell Freeman on bass.

Special cuts are peppered throughout this studio project, and include a nice re-arrangement from industry stalward Maurice Culpepper on “Because Keith Brooks and New CreationHe Lives”. Derrik Cooper also makes his mark with several song contributions, with the title cut being prominent. Imparting an urban twist, this mid-tempo choir number showcases the fluidity of the entire ensemble.

"Help Me Praise the Lord" comes from the anointed pen of Minister Eddie Robinson (see review of his own solo project), and serves as a jazz-inflected album-opening invitation — “Will you, won’t you, could you, why don’t you help us praise the Lord”.

Swirling, whirling and spine-tingling B3 organ work from Lackey serves to set up “Oh What A Blessing”. It’s another Eddie Robinson composition that brings out a no-doubt church sound with a wonderful lead from alto Kelli Goard with choir support that leans heavily on close harmonies.

Another songwriter making his mark on this disc is Christopher Lewis. On "In Your Presence", soloist Mark Rivers is the perfect soulful vocal fit for the slow-burning and meditative seven-minute number that builds to a fire. "I Don't Know Why" incorporates brassy synth and punctuated choir parts to convey the high intensity praise from soloist Sarah Hilson. Both cuts establish Lewis as a songwriter of note.

Director Keith Brooks takes the mic on “How I Say Thanks”, a slowly unfolding ballad with an almost undefinable jazz flair, with steady, dry, drum beating out the praise.

Other artists know a good thing when they hear one. That's why LaShun Pace, Diana Ross, Angélla Christie and Gerald Thompson have all recently made Keith Brooks and New Creation their pick for supporting choir on their latest projects.

Listening to this project, you'll easily see why they did that.

Producers: Derrik Cooper, Keith Brooks
album release date: August 29, 2000
AIR Gospel

— reviewed by Stan North

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