Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis
Live in Memphis

The city of Memphis lays claim to many great treasures, among them, Elvis Presley's Graceland, the headquarters of FEDex and the Church of God in Christ. Among its gospel music treasures are Olanda Draper's Associates, Kevin Davidson and the Voices, Billy Rivers and the Angelic Voices of Faith and Darrel Pettis and Strength In Praise.

Today, Memphians laud the addition of Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis to that list.

The word 'kenosis' is derived from the Greek word keno ("to empty"), taken from Philippians 2:5-8 where the apostle Paul describes how Jesus emptied himself of His divinity and took on the form of a servant. If that is any indication of what to expect from Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis, then the listeners should prepare themselves.

CDThis 12-member ensemble very demonstratively pours out their hearts and souls in every song on Live In Memphis, their national debut release on Earnest Pugh's EPM Music Group label.

The sound is energetic and joyous. Straight out of the gate comes "Mighty God" in all of its gospel glory. Venissia Tharpe catches the vamp and takes you to a small wood floor storefront church for an extended call and answer session. At what appears to be the end of the song is a nice Baptist bump which affords you the opportunity to catch your breath in between running up and down the aisles.

The dynamic duo of Jessie and Jeffrey White (aka Same Seed) make a noteworthy impression on "Teach Me", while Tharpe holds down the fort on "Jesus the Great" (although it should be noted that the brassy, modulating soprano section does steal a bit of his thunder!)

There is the Thanksgiving anthem, "Thank You Lord" which speaks for itself and the album closes with a positively affirmed "He Will", featuring another fine Tennessee talent, Benita Washington. On the live-recorded "You Are God", Michelle Prather takes the mic.

Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis make a formidable showing in their first national release and are a welcome addition to the growing roster of musical aggregations from the bustling "mid-south choir capital" of Memphis.

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Production: Various
album release date: November, 2012
EPM Music Group

— review by Gregory Gay

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