Kurt Carr

Kurt Carr
One Church

As the first project from Kurt Carr since his blockbuster Awesome Wonder project from 2000 (see album review), the veteran songwriter, arranger and producer steps forward to deliver a set steeped in diversity, a project that embodies the succinct and relevant album title —One Church. From sitar to drums, from bagpipes (yes, bagpipes) to African percussion, it's all in the mix.

CD Carr and his seven-voice vocal ensemble (which now includes Houston's Nakitta Clegg and New York's Timiney Figueroa Caton) combine with The Choir Of Life to create a twelve-track live project, recorded at West Los Angeles COGIC in July, 2005.

The band is potent, needless to say. Musical Director Maurice Rogers handles organ and keys, with Luther "Mano" Hanes also on piano and keyboards. Further strength comes from Jonathan Dubose Jr., Rick Watford, Doc Powell, Mike Ripoll, Maurice Fitzgerald, Sheryl Baker, Kevin Ricard and Terry Baker, among others. Carr holds no punches with his supporting cast.

"God, Great God" is a high energy single that is scripted by Carr. Universal in its lyrics and musical appeal, it is signature Kurt Carr concert material. With modulations to the sky and using thick but simple vocals, Carr encourages us to put aside denominational differences to worship together, as he shares lead vocals with Clegg.

Vonnie Lopez has contributed to several choir projects over the years, including the NorCal Mass Choir (see album review). She steps in to reprise "One Word", a ballad that calls on the Lord to speak to us. Figueroa-Catonís voice sweeps gently on "Why Not Trust God Again" amidst eloquent guitar and orchestration.

Clegg also guides the moving "God Blocked It", which extols Godís hand of protection. Nikki Potts comes in to transition powerfully. Walter Hawkins' "Be Grateful" is covered, and emits young adult choir memories before vamping into a light groove.

One Church
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"If I Tell God" utilizes the rhythmic bass vocal that is a staple in African-oriented vocal arrangements. African percussionists are featured in this infectious cut. In keeping with the international focus, "Psalms 68" features Albert Armon from Armenia on the accordion, along with Mike Ripoll on acoustic guitar. In tango tempo and tone Carr and Singers proclaim "Let our God arise!" Shervonne Wells transitions to "Power Praise" which begins with the traditional "Let God Arise", and is basically a shout-music track worked to the utmost.

On "My Time For Godís Favor (The Presence Of The Lord Remix)", Carr brings back the smash hit that he wrote and produced for label mate Byron Cage (see album review). On this redo, Carr stretches it and paints it the Kurt Carr grandeur brush. If you can imagine this song any bigger —this is it.

It's quite the task to follow up Awesome Wonder, but Kurr Carr has done it. In his broad grasp of different musical styles and cultures, Carr creates a sound that is unique. In welcoming influences from many places, his solid Gospel base is given a twist, but not abandoned.

He embraces diverse sounds and then releases them again to create one encompassing voice that shares the commonality of Christ at the center.

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Producer: Kurt Carr
album release date: March 22, 2005
Gospo Centric Records

— reviewed by Melanie Clark, Stan North

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