Radio One executive Jeff Majors puts his Gospel harp to work again
on this sophomore project featuring a number of high profile guest vocals.Producer: Jeff Majors
album release date: February, 2000
Majors demonstrated in his debut album (Sacred) that he was able to
carve an unlikely but legitimate niche for the classical harp in Gospel
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 background 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.
reviewed by Stan North —
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