Read more reviews of Christmas CDs that have been released in 2001. Christmas reviews from previous years are also still available.
One Family: A Christmas Album
Kelly Price is in no way a stranger to Gospel music.Producers: George Duke, Donald Lawrence, Daniel Weatherspoon, Donnie McClurkin, Kelly Price, Shep Crawford, Warryn Campbell
album release date: October, 2001
Raised in the church and a former member of the New York Restoration Choir, the DefSoul artist has always brought a churchy edge to her popular R&B/soul offerings. With powerful "B-side" Gospel cuts as "Lord of All" and "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow", as well as part of the heralded trio who sang "God's Favor" on The Tri-City project tricity4.com (see album review), Price gets airplay from numerous Gospel stations, and it seemed like only a matter of time that we'd get a gospel project from Kelly.
Now we have one, by way of Price's first Christmas album, aptly titled One Family: A Christmas Album. While not being marketed "officially" as a Gospel release, the lyrical content, musical styling and raw passion easily make it so.
The first tell-tale sign of the Gospel influence is the production. The opening track is an orchestral yet jazzy rendition of Christmas classic "Silent Night" produced by famed producer Donald Lawrence. This pair continues to have great chemistry. The track lends itself to Kelly's awesome vocal talent.
Lawrence also teams with Daniel Weatherspoon (known for his work with Bishop Larry Trotter, Mark Hubbard and multiple others) to produce "Go Tell It", a song with a definite Sunday morning choir feel to it and accented by Price's inspiring ad libs, where she refers to Christ as "Strong Deliverer", "Messiah", and "Savior". She also is in no way ashamed or afraid to refer to her Lord by his name Jesus.
Price's Gospel partnerships continue with an awesome rendition of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", featuring BeBe Winans, Shirley Murdock, Ragsdale, The Williams Brothers, The Born Again Church Choir, and Donnie McClurkin. This song is a keeper and Kelly blends in well with Gospel's heavyweights.
"Messiah Has Come" was penned and produced by Donnie McClurkin and features participation from Duawne Starling with instruments from Cedric and Victor Caldwell. The urban ballad speaks of the birth of Jesus and reminds us that our Messiah has come to earth.
Price presents a very well-rounded project as she focuses on the total Christmas experience. She connects with urban duo Mary Mary on a special love song titled "In Love at Christmas". The mid-tempo ballad features production work from stellar producer Warryn Campbell and speaks of the joy of sharing the holidays and falling in love with your God-given mate.
The soulful diva continues on the family tip with "If I Lose Christmas" featuring accompaniment from Gospel jazz pioneer Ben Tankard and 'all join in' background vocals from her children Jonia and Jeffrey Rolle Jr. She also features three generations with her grandparents, several sisters, and mother on the title cut "One Family", which indeed becomes a musical family affair.
If the project wasn't star-studded enough, Price teams with Wynonna Judd for an awesome duet in "Mary's Song". Perhaps the greatest beauty of this rendition is the seemless merging of R&B and country for an absolutely divine piece of music.
Price also connects with jazz great George Duke for a funky version of "What Child is This". To round out this amazingly diverse project, an authentic yet updated version of "Ave Maria" in included which Price delivers with impeccable operatic quality.
Make no mistake, Kelly Price has made a statement with this Christmas project. Teamed up in the past with heavy hitters that include J.Moss, Kim Burrell, and Karen-Clark Sheard, she has proven that she knows the true meaning of Christmas and she has as much Gospel flava as any current diva running.
Definitely one of the best Christmas offerings of the new millenium.
reviewed by Gerard Bonner —
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