know if you read my review of Kloud9‘s
and my review of the Light
Records gospel wedding CD that I’ve developed an appreciation of
modern gospel music.
group of musicians appearing under the banner of SounDoctrine has been
brought together by Baptist minister Jere B.
I should mention that Jere (from Youngstown OH) is a composer,
producer and red-hot drummer. He’s
also coined the term “Alternative Christian Funk”, which is as
fitting a label as any to describe the contents of this jam-packed
opens with wild sound effects, then there’s laughter, then funky
bass and a drum track that rocks.
That muscular rhythm is matched by bright upfront keyboards and
then breaks down into a mellow phase with more ambient laughter and
chattering. It’s soon
back and it brings with it an almost Herbie Hancock-like intensity.
After five minutes there’s a 6-string bass solo and I’m
lookin’ round for John Patitucci.
Then there’s a great vibe sound but the lovely tough groove
and great chord progression that winds around everything is what keeps
me smiling for nearly nine minutes.
second track is a stone funk dancer.
Power is a vocal, which is a rallying call for people
who spend their time full of doubt.
The fact that the keyboards, solid beat and sheer
in-your-face-ness reminds me of Funkadelic makes me love it even more.
Power segues into Kolorz, which is an urban groove with
a sweet female vocal that calls for racial harmony and an appreciation
of the Earth’s beauty. Heavy – musically and lyrically.
is “Zapp meets Najee”. I
love the nimble soprano sax over the tuff-est funk beat and the
phat-est synth bass. If this is alternative Christian funk bring it on!!
G. Funk – gospel funk – is getting under my skin.
You’d expect the pace to drop after four jams like those and
on (In my) Mirror we are treated to a delicious female vocal in
a laid-back style. The
vocal twists and turns and I hear echoes of Patrice Rushen and Minnie
Ripperton. Performed live
this must be spellbinding.
laid-back feeling continues into Nohoour which features a
powerful female vocal. This,
to me, is a more mainstream gospel sound and if there’s more feeling
than technicality in the sound, well, that’s what I’d expect.
Keep Movin’ with its busy groove gets us moving again. It’s a great 80’s dance sound but like the best 80’s
dance it sounds fresh. That
male backing vocal needs to be further forward in the mix but that’s
a minor criticism when I realise how this relentless groove is making
me nod my head. Lovely.
35 years or older? Bloodline’s
for you – and it’s for me. It’s
got a strutting drum pattern, a killer-diller bass sound and lead and
background male vocals of a high, high standard.
I relate to the subject too, “why can’t we go back to
better, simpler times when people treated each other nice?”
The rap sections avoid sounding corny and the message comes
over clear. This song’s
got it all – gotta play it again.
The instrumental Stilphil has a great off-beat sound
with a bassline played in a minor key and zany sax, keyboard and
guitar fills. It’s a
dancer though and I’d love to see a talented choreographer do
something with this.
is pretty love song, much in the style of 80’s funksters Kleer.
The female vocal is tender but it’s swamped by the prominent
Linn-drum sound at times. There’s
an uncompromising hip-hop sound on Every Knee.
Lyrically this is a no-nonsense gospel message.
Who’s the real star?
Again, the vocal sound effects are done well and add to the
lyric. The Slave-style
blazing guitar is right at home too.
to stay still while Inside Out is playing.
It’s a strutting disco-funk workout with busy synth bass and
a snare sound that drives the whole song.
The lead vocal is mainstream gospel and is passionate – are
we listening to a new Aretha? Is
Jere B a ‘gospel’ George Clinton?
Check that backing vocal arrangement.
G. Funk’s in the house!
Interlude/Under the Shadow starts with very appealing
string and acoustic guitar sounds and prepares you for the grand
finale. In case you
missed the point while you were dancing, this is Christian music.
The layers of vocals, simple arrangement and strong Christian
message show where the artists on this album have come from and will
appeal to people who are accustomed to hearing gospel music.
I liked this album even before I got the shrink- wrap off of
it. It’s subtitled “
The Soundtrack to a Non-existent Movie” and for sure the graphics
look like a late 60’s movie poster – very moody.
music does not disappoint. It’s
a collection of deep grooves, heartfelt vocal performances and lyrics
which have a deep resonance. SounDoctrine
has chosen to launch itself in a secular market in order to spread its
message. It would be so
easy to produce conventional music for a well-established audience,
but they avoided it. This
is daring in just about every way.
press release tells us that Jere B “Drops Alternative Christian Funk
on Planet Earth”. I
like the parallel with the whole Parliament/Funkadelic thing,
especially as the parallel goes further, with a rotating group of
talented singers and musicians making up SounDoctrine.
The liner notes list them all – and it’s a big family.
got a copy of the SD Live CD with Perseverance and I can tell you that
a lot of energy is released on stage.
Many of the tracks which appear on Perseverance are performed
– together with covers of songs by Joe Sample, Nat King Cole and
Sonny Rollins. The accent
on jazz is stronger live and the vocals are maybe less in evidence but
lovers of funk won’t be left wanting. Like George Clinton’s crew, these guys can get deep –
listen to Movin’ On (Jam) for the proof.
The Borders Books & Music chain have taken up distribution
of both Perseverance and SD Live.
I just checked their website and Borders just teamed up with
Amazon in the USA, so that can only be good news.
Niayana Recordings – cat no. CD001A (Perseverance)
CD002A (SD Live) Producer
– Jere B.