Marvin L. Winans
The Praise and Worship Experience

Truth be told, we didn't quite know what to expect when word got out of the release of another Marvin L. Winans solo project. Hard to imagine it had been five years since 2007's Alone But Not Alone (flashback to "Try", and "I'm Over It Now" —read review).

For many diehard fans (and you know who you are), we are still consumed with that 2007 project. Then there was Marvin's giving life and flight to "Let the Church Say Amen" and "The Promise" from the widely acclaimed Andrae Crouch project, The Journey (read review).

What MORE could he do?

Can you imagine getting a call from Marvin Winans telling you he is doing a recording and asking you to sing on his project? Clearly now, who would pass that up? This was CDthe birth of The Praise and Worship Experience —a project packed to the hilt with guest appearances. With a wealth of artistry spread over 14 tracks, surprisingly only one of them is labeled as an actual reprise.

A very capable and competent Percy Bady serves as music director, with some help from his Chicago contingent (Richard Gibbs on organ, Maurice Fitzgerald on bass, Rodney East on keys and piano, Joey Woolfolk on guitar) flanked by Lloyd Barry's horns and string arrangements and Dana Davis, Roger Ryan, Darryl Tibbs and Augustine Alvarez rounding out the crew.

As for the worship, the album opens with Winans' arrangement of "Draw Me Close/Thy Will Be Done". This song causes a genuine Selah moment. Winans' shows that he knows what he's doing; his worship leader abilities are evident to the point that you don't want to leave (thank God for the repeat button).

"For I Have Heard Your Cry" is taken from 2 Kings 20:5 where God sends word to King Hezekiah via the prophet Isaiah. Randy Short opens the song followed by a full fledge assault of "the Marvins" (Marvin Winans and Marvin Sapp). Winans takes you to the bridge and Sapp takes you over.

The purity of Michon Young's vocals is a perfect fit for the opening of "If My People". The song is effective call to the people of God to return to prayer and supplication and the piercing soprano of Evangelist Renea Thomas (of Pastor Charles Nicks and St. James Radio Choir fame) brings the song to its height.

Erica Campbell and Tina Campbell add their Mary Mary signature to "That's The Love of God". On this project, Bishop Paul Morton wins the "guest appearance award" for "Reach Out and Touch Him". Winans shows his excitement as the song draws to a close and Bishop Morton prepares to leave the mic, Winans calls him back for an encore. They then dismantle and reconstruct the story of blind Bartimaeus (much to the delight of this writer).

Now what Marvin Winans project would be complete without a church medley featuring Donnie McClurkin? Marvin enlists McClurkin and Deloris 'Mom' Winans to set the stage with "Just Another Day" before running through a set of congregational standards: "What Do You Want The Lord To Say", "Just a Little While (to stay here)", "After While (it will all be over)" and the end of "He That Believeth". Congregational pandemonium ensues and a "pass the mic session" commences with Bishop Morton , Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Sapp and others taking their turn (reminiscent of testimony service in the Pentecostal church).

Having shared with the testimony of the other saints, you too will find Joy as you come to know The Praise and Worship Experience.

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Production: Various
album release date: June, 2012
MLW Entertainment

— review by Gregory Gay

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