New Album Focuses On Gospel Greats Thomas A. Dorsey & Sister Rosetta Tharpe
An innovative, continually curious musical explorer like no other, Don Byron has put together a remarkable ensemble, Don Byron New Gospel Quintet for the recording “LOVE, PEACE, AND SOUL” which is available today on Savoy Jazz. With jazz as his springboard, the virtuosic clarinetist and saxophonist has turned his ear to Gospel icons Thomas A. Dorsey and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The project is generating a great buzz as gospel and jazz radio outlets have embraced it. The press is also on board with coverage in the Wall Street Journal, Downbeat, Jazziz and Jazz Times confirmed.
Featuring a stellar line-up of mostly longtime collaborators, the quintet and several guest artists have created a soulful homage to Dorsey and Tharpe with inspired interpretations of their compositions. Playing alongside Byron are DK Dyson (vocals),Xavier Davis (piano, backing vocals), Brad Jones (bass, backing vocals), Pheeroan Aklaff (drums) and guests Brandon Rossand Vernon Reid (guitars), Dean Bowman (vocals), Ralph Alessi (trumpet), and JD Parran (baritone saxophone). Recorded at Harlem’s Stadium Red Studio, the album was produced by Hans Wendl and engineered by Tom Lazarus, a team Byron has relied on for many of his recordings. Savoy Jazz will release “LOVE, PEACE, AND SOUL” by the Don Byron New Gospel Quintet on February 21st, 2012.
Don Byron’s idea to mine the historical riches of American Gospel came to fruition while teaching a course at SUNY, Albany. Once known as “the father of Black Gospel music” Thomas A. Dorsey was a pioneer in combining traditional Christian hymns with the rhythmic disciplines of Jazz and Blues—an almost rebellious perspective shared also by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, another key musical reference for Byron. Both stretched and blew apart the boundaries of traditional gospel structures and performance and in doing so created a template for a unique form of spiritual expression grounded in African American culture.
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