VIP Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir
Mighty In The Spirit
Mighty In The Spirit is the latest project from John P. Kee's VIP Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir, recorded at the North Carolina pastor's annual week-long retreat in 2000.Producer: John P. Kee
album release date: October 9, 2001
This is perhaps the strongest VIP project to date, but not because Kee and choir are necessarily breaking new ground.
Rather, the strength comes from the tried and true.
On the musical tip, Kee and company know what works for them and us. The well-known voices of Kee and his soloists (such as Sheila Lakin), the variations of familiar chording patterns, the patented pounding choir drives and hooks, the blazing bandwork, it's all on this disc in abundance.
And yet with the renewed verve that Kee and in particular the New Life band injects into the project, this is anything but a reflective trip down memory lane. And lyrically, the new material blesses with profound scriptural comforts and exhortations.
No more than 3 seconds into the album, Kee kicks things into full throttle with the high octane title track where the choir testifies of our true and strong character which is actually not ours, but imparted to us by the Holy Spirit. Before the album ends, the song returns in the form of a rap-laden dance remix.
Tim Mole torches his electric guitar, setting fire to "Even Me (Showers of Blessing)" as Kee takes solo duties with Jeanette Taylor and the VIP choir powers to vocal heights. "Send Your Power" follows with a similar theme, with choir strongly singing out the wonderful part arrangements.
Classic Kee choir balladry is displayed on "You're Worthy" with its incessantly busy rhythm accompaniment contrasting with the more relaxed vocal vibe from the choir. Sheila Lakin smooths things out on the dreamy "Let The Words of My Mouth", and "It's My Time" is a reflective piece from Kee.
Also of note the father/daughter tag team on "Oh Lord My Strength", as Shannon Kee joins her pleasantly rich alto with her dad in duet and Miche Waller supports on keys.
The project is notable for the return of several musicians who have made their mark with New Life over the years. LaDell Abrams reunites his drums with bassman Maurice Fitzgerald and keyboard maestro Ivan Powell on the upbeat praise and worship choir cut, "We Worship You", bringing back their unique and missed musical chemistry.
Elsewhere, Tony Russell ably serves up bass and Chris Kee and Calvin Rodgers, drums.
The smaller VIP Ensemble vocal crew excels on "The Righteous Shall Obey", a song with traditional structure and Kee's vocals. Mole's finessed guitar interplay with Waller's organ makes for some nice extras on this cut.
Overall, the mass choir is a slightly little more rugged in sound than we're used to hearing from the smaller New Life Community Choir that appears on Kee's flagship projects, but that's barely noticeable amidst all the great songwriting.
When the album concludes with a very gentle redo of Kee's hit "Not Guilty" (pulled from the recently-released video of that project), it signals the end of generous helping of fifteen tracks that have satisified and fulfilled all expectations.
reviewed by Stan North —
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