Jeff Majors
Sacred 2000

Radio One executive Jeff Majors puts his Gospel harp to work again on this sophomore project featuring a number of high profile guest vocals.

Majors demonstrated in his debut album (Sacred) that he was able to carve an unlikely but legitimate niche for the classical harp in Gospel music. All the sounds introduced on the first project —the ones you expect from a harp— are here again. The glissandos, the gentle pluck and the calmness of tone abide comfortably with a lush orchestral Sacred 2000 CDbackground from the fully-populated ‘Sacred Strings' crew. What makes Majors' project unique is that on top of this classical base rests various layers of gentle rhythm and jazz, courtesy of a collective known as “The Sacred Orchestra”, topped by frequent soulfully soft vocals from various sources (including Majors himself).

Having firmly established himself in this niche, Majors forges ahead with obvious passion on Sacred 2000, assembling 12 cuts of inventive, reflective and soulful composition, arranging, producing and performing on every one of the tunes.

The vocal spotlight is thrown often on Al Johnson, whose slightly grit-nuanced pipes contrast nicely with the soft sounds of Majors’ harp. Check out "Sweet Hour of Prayer", "Purpose (Ecclesiastes 3)", and one of the most inspired interpretations of "Lift Every Voice" to come along in years.

The harp-vocal mix continues on "Just Another Day" (that the Lord as kept me), which by all rights is the project’s trophy track. The Queen of Gospel (Albertina Walker) joins up with Genobia Jeter’s contrasting light, airy vocals to render a cool, quasi-traditional, slow, trumpet-filled vibe. Also noteworthy is the contribution of soloist Renee Diggs who joins with the New Jersey Mass Choir on "She Cries", which is based on Proverbs 8.

Guest vocals aside, the predominantly instrumental tracks also merit praise, with a rhythmic "Wade In The Water" and "Sonny’s Prayer" in particular making a significant quiet storm impact.

Defying categorization, this is a project that should find its way into the heart of all those daring (and plucky!) enough to give it a try.

Producer: Jeff Majors
album release date: February, 2000
NAS Music

— reviewed by Stan North

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