Kurt Carr and the Kurt Carr Singers
Awesome Wonder

Awesome Wonder CDKurt Carr returns with his singers on Awesome Wonder, his third album on GospoCentric. Picking up where he left off on 1997's No One Else, and cementing himself as a songwriting tour-de-force, Carr impresses with his flawless vocal ensemble, masterful band support and unveils several gems in the process.

Sparkling among them is "In the Sanctuary". Superbly infectious, the song instantly finds a memory spot and stays there. Typical of Carr's offerings, the song is a showcase for the vocal powerhouse that is the Kurt Carr Singers. Power, pinpoint precision, creative phrasing and a refined rawness characterize the sound here, and throughout the CD. The song powerfully vamps to oblivion with the repeated phrase, 'yes Lord, for the rest of my life.'

Like some of his contemporaries (e.g. James Hall, Ricky Dillard), Kurt Carr brings forth a consistency in sound that doesn't waver with personnel changes. Newcomer Troy Bright (formerly with C.D. Hawkins and Singers) makes his tenor debut with The Singers. Making a perfect fit, he brings forth a clarity and a brilliance of tone. This is particularly noticeable on "That's Just The Way The Father Is", a ballad in which he takes solo lead.

The Kurt Carr Singers at the GMWA in New OrleansPraise and worship cuts are numerous, and includes the "Worship Medley". Wrapped in piano and swelling strings it emphasizes creative key changes between songs snips. The short reprise interprets "O, How I Love Jesus" with instrumental fills of wobbly B3 organ sounds. Also impacting on this vein is "Oh My Soul Loves Jesus" with gorgeous vocals from Nikki Potts.

"We Declare War" is a lyrical departure for Carr and crew. Sounding the warning bell, they exhort "every believer all over the world" to "wake up and realize" that "Satan is busy destroying this world". With Maurice Fitzgerald's bass beating out the call to war, Jackie Boyd-De Raat and Carr trade lead vocals with the chorus "declaring war against the enemy" and affirming that "he is defeated, Satan's under our feet".

West Angeles COGIC

The West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles has long been known as a Gospel hotbed on the West coast.

Kurt Carr serves as Creative Director of Music at the church. JudithSend Judah First CD Christie-McAllister also attends, so it's not surprising that several of the players on Awesome Wonder can also be heard contributing to Judith Christie-McAllister's solo debut, Send Judah First (see review).
Latin fever hits seriously on "We Offer You Praise", with a specially assembled latin band under the direction of Alberto Salas providing authenticity. Tambales, woodwinds, trombones, trumpets and specialty percussion are only some of the instruments that generate the vibe of this high velocity praise setting.

The title cut stands alone as the only legitimately urban cut on the disc. Vocoder and programming set it apart, and while its inclusion amidst the vocal and instrumental live-feel splendor of the rest of the album makes the fit a bit awkward, the song itself works quite well.

Filled with an anointed artistry, Awesome Wonder marks yet another high water mark for Gospel this year.

Producers: Kurt Carr, Jason White, Kevin Bond
album release date: September 19, 2000
GospoCentric Records

reviewed by Stan North

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