Tommy Jones and the Christian
Mass Workshop Choir
Tommy Jones Jr. brings his Kentucky-honed Gospel skills to the fore with this impressive Christian Mass Workshop Choir release from Debut Gospel.Producers: Tommy Jones, Jeffrey LaValley
album release date: October, 2001
Title Breakthrough, simply put, that's what this album is.
The skillful welding of the tradtional vibe stamped all over this disc fused with back-breaking band jams and powerful mass choir sounds is ample evidence that Jones is no rookie. This may be his first nationally-released album, but he’s laid his hand to several prior recordings since 1989.
The songwriting here (9 of 13 songs come from Jones' pen) is superb, creatively simple with intense appeal, and possessing all the classic marks of fine Gospel without ever becoming cliché.
Wait no longer than 5 seconds into the first song and you’ll know the power of this collective. “We Have Come Into This House” is at once familiar and fresh, you find yourself grooving right along with the live and involved audience (from Evangel World Prayer Center in Louisville, Kentucky), and that comes almost instantly.
That extends directly into the followup cut, “Jesus Will Make Everything Alright” with Anthony Christian’s funky keyboard stylings intro’ing, heavy bass work from Simeon Baker and Rev. Keith Hunter’s solo lead on the rising call and response hook.
Then it’s on to “Look Where He Brought Me From”, a church choir rouser with horns and a never-quit, quick-stride walking bass line from beginning to end.
Tommy Jones Explains
"Fifteen years ago, the Lord gave me a vision to start a workshop choir that would offer to our community and country something different and unique."|
"There are so many different artists all over the world that are talented and gifted, but I wanted my choir to have an annointing that would be felt on impact because of the seriousness of our hearts. And now my heart's desire is that we will share Jesus as often and as much as we can."
"We tried so many years to be signed to a major label, but it wasn't our time. I have learned we have to wait until God gives clearance. It took a talented and gifted man such as Al Hobbs [CEO of Debut Gospel] to believe in our ministry and afford us the chance to go national with our praise."
"I also thank God for the two guys who have labored with me for years, keyboardist Anthony Christian and drummer Jason Gordon, and also my family! And also two of my best friends in the world, Karen and Jimmy Wilson when I wanted to quit they said keep pushing!"
"I say to all song writers and artists, whatever you do, remember God has only blessed us to be a blessing to someone else."
That’s one, two, three highlights, back-to-back-to-back and there’s still ten more tracks to finish the project.
Jones calls on veteran Jeffrey LaValley to co-produce; their work together on Breakthrough is excellent and consistent, with a live quality sound blessed by clarity of vocals, both mass and solo, plus great mixes of instrumental support.
Soloist Patricia Mathison on “I Won’t Give Up” makes a statement amidst streams of synths, and Tiffany Collier’s lead on the new arrangement of “Amazing Grace” with sax support from Charles Walker is notable. This choir is deep in solo talent; there’s nary a weak lead and there’s a different voice on each song.
Being released near year’s end, it’s no struggle to declare Breakthrough to be right up there in 2001’s top choir projects. Don’t let this one slip through the cracks, that would be to your own dis-service.
Check out our photo feature of Tommy Jones and the Christian Mass Workshop Choir, as well as other Debut Gospel artists, from the GMWA held in Minneapolis in 2001.
reviewed by Stan North —
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