Gospel jazz gets additional laborers with Thank You, the latest coming from Chicago-based Meek Records.Producers: Kamaron Jarmon, MASQUE
album release date: April, 2000
Under the umbrella name of MASQUE, this collective of players lays down smooth, urban-influenced tracks with emphasis on originals and a couple hymn interpretations thrown in for good measure.
Behind Masque are Pierre Walker on organ and Rhodes, Cliff
Johnson on piano and keys, Kamaron Jarmon on drums, Wilbert Jarmon on guitars, John Goldman on saxophone, Tim Fullerton on bass and various others who contribute to accents required as need be (flugel horn, trumpet, trombone). Where vocals are present, they are predominantly (and ably) handled by Andrea Love.
Track highlights include “Remember (Song for Burch)”, a smooth jam with muted trumpet from Tito Carillo and soft memorial vocals for one departed (Alvin Burchall) courtesy of Trina Davis. “Thank You” glides soulfully under a vocal chorus, generating a praise groove worthy of title track status. There’s a nice interplay of organ, Rhodes and piano on “Take Time”, which each swirl playfully under strong chord progressions and steady rhythms.
Alternative hymn arrangements are always welcome. Cliff Johnson’s instrumental
juggling of “Blessed Assurance” and his joint arrangements with
Kamaron Jarmon on “Motherless Child” are strong, giving us a new
vista on the hymnscape horizon.
There’s a whole lot more to explore here, and with 16 tracks, time ticks by before you know it. Kamaron Jarmon’s studio production throughout the project is nearly flawless, and provides a consistency that makes track transitions sound effortless and natural in their flow.
“Thank You” marks the passing of a strong but quiet storm over Meek Records. Get your MASQUE on.
reviewed by Stan North —
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