Sticks of Praise
To toil in the background takes discipline, dedication and a heart that knows
that that ministry does not necessarily bring spotlights. And then to transition
from background to ‘front and center’ is an adjustment that few are able to make with ease.
Producer: Calvin Napper
album release date: September, 1999
With a hugely extensive background as a Gospel drummer, with credits
on projects from the Tri-City Singers to John P. Kee
to Karen Clark-Sheard and numerous others (more than you could
shake a drumstick at!), Calvin Napper makes that transition
to solo artist again on his creatively titled sophomore project,
Sticks of Praise.
There’s eight cuts on the project, all classic jazz,
plenty drum and some occasional vocals tossed in to round
out the package. While the disc truly does emphasize
drums, by no means it a 'beats only' affair. Joining Napper
on the set is the standard guitar, saxophone, bass and
keyboards, with familiar Gospel names such as Maurice
Fitzgerald, Cedric Thompson and Reggie Graves
handling their various duties on certain cuts.
“A Drummer’s Perspective” is one of six Napper originals
on the project, and is a carefree romp that easily holds
itself together with Karen Greene’s sax
stylings. On “My Hope Is Built”, Napper overlays
a gentle syncopated snare effect over the familiar melody
line set out methodically by Rodney Edge’s
keyboard, before small ensemble vocals kick
Other trophy tracks are the sax melody-driven mid-tempo
title cut, and the riding “Melodies of Wisdom”, in
which Napper’s drum kit holds court kicks, rolls and all.
Gospel jazz is still somewhat of a rarity, and a
solo drum project even more so. For that
reason alone, Sticks of Praise is an
intriguing addition to anyone’s Gospel collection.
Cal Nap Productions
reviewed by Stan North —
Other Gospel Jazz Stuff
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