Miami Mass Choir
Just 4 You
The phenomenal success of Miami Mass’ hit single “What God Has For Me Is For Me” struck a resounding chord in Gospel circles when the choir’s debut project It’s Praying Time dropped in 1997. In speaking to surety of the promises of God to the individual, the lyrics, combined with the Joy Cooper’s impactful yet softly traditional lead, went a long way to earning the project a Stellar Award for "Choir of the Year". Producers: Marc and Rev. Milton Biggham
album release date: June, 2000
While hits of such proportions are hard to equal, Miami Mass’ followup project on Savoy Records (which is playfully and creatively titled Just 4 You), certainly contains some potent songs that may prove to be just as popular.
This time out, the choir's founder, director and Florida force Marc
Cooper ups the notch on creativity, delivering
thirteen strong songs that offer a buffet of mostly
traditionally-based flavas, but dosed with contemporary spice.
First off the mark is “Lift Him Up”, and attitude-inflected choir groove lead by Avery Jones, complete with a funkdafied band layers, followed by “He’s Been Good” , a Kendall Hunter tune that quickly settles the funky dust with its very familiar, down home one-bar melodic motif that repeatedly gets thunked out by the band. Virginia Bostic handles lead on this very traditional cut that rings with a vibe often found on albums from choirs such as Georgia Mass.
Having shown both the funk and the traditional drive, Miami Mass then delivers a wealth of diverse material that includes a raucous two-part island jam (“Kum Ba Ya”) and the title track, "Just 4 You", nicely handled by Joy Cooper.
Pastor Marc Cooper
|Singing since the age of 5, Pastor Marc Cooper
is one of Florida's Gospel treasures. As pastor of Miami's
Temple COGIC, and as keyboardist, songwriter,
arranger, producer, he is active on many fronts, including the Miami Mass.
While Savoy chief Rev. Milton Biggham doesn't sing on this project, his presence can be felt on production (jointly with Marc Cooper), an on the syncopated and catchy "I Know It Was The Blood", which he co-arranges with Cooper. Juan Dennis and Tracey Carter trade leads to good effect.
Equally strong is the classic "It Is Well", which gets revitalized by Olga Franklin's vocals and energized by powerful choir phrasing that Marc Cooper adds to the arrangement.
With several other songs rounding out the project, look for this sophomore
effort to go down as another Gospel triumph for Miami, for
Florida and for everyone who loves good Gospel, no matter
where they're from.
reviewed by Stan North —
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Check out the Miami companion piece to this project