Musicians of Praise
The Covenant, Vol. 1
Howard Kennedy on drums, Ron Burrell on bass guitar and Willis Hickerson Jr. on keys, these are the Musicians of Praise. On The Covenant Vol. 1, all three focus their considerable skills into a 12-tracker that hones in on flowing instrumentals frequently blended with vocals from a variety of soloists.Producers: Howard Kennedy, Willis Hickerson Jr.
album release date: June, 2001
Both Kennedy and Hickerson have been mainstays with Rev. Ernest Davis Jr.’s Wilmington Chester Mass Choir for years, anchoring their projects with songwriting, production and instrumental expertise.
“A Saint’s Chant” rates as one of the most intriguing cuts on this project. Highlighted by quick arpeggio runs on organ and piano, the anointing of Kennedy’s wordless melodic vocal chant and a groovy bassline and rhythm ruckus, it makes an instant impression. The vocals may be wordless but there is never a doubt to the purpose of the praise; the Holy Spirit confirms with our spirits that the glory is going to Jesus Christ.
“From The Heart” is a snappy cut that leans on Hickerson’s Hammond B3 prowess and Kennedy’s flair for percussion dynamics. Contrasting is “In Quiet Times”, a piano solo from Hickerson that wanders and ripples wonderfully over a medley of hymn classics, and the featured saxophone (from Pastor Willis M. Hickerson Sr.) on the brightly lilting “Swing Praise”.
On the opening bars of “God Will See You Through”, Burrell’s bass and Daryl Childer’s guitar are out in front, with Minister Paul Scott vocalizing on the urbanly jazzed composition.
Tracey Harris impresses on the slowly simmering “Child of God”, with her rain-soaked alto tones and low register, breathy roundness of style. Multi-stacked vocals, laid-back keyboards and steady, heavy snares correctly convey the scriptural confidence expressed by the words. Harris comes back on several other cuts, including a nice cover of Carol Antrom’s “Stand Still” (previously heard on Wilmington Chester Mass’ album of the same name from 1992).
In total, a finely finessed album of vocals and instrumentals.
Musicians Praise Production Records
reviewed by Stan North —
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