In observation of Black Music Month, gospel jazz is a genre that definitely deserves attention, especially “Power,” the new praise and worship instrumental jazz offering from saxophonist Cameron Ross.
Ross is somewhat a newcomer and I am happy to introduce him to those who have not had the pleasure of hearing “Our God,” his latest single on the radio. He has a high-quality product that I hope will reach as many ears as possible.
It’s a shame that, outside of my own music collection and online listening, the only time I hear gospel instrumental music is when I am walking the aisles of a Christian-owned Hobby Lobby store. There are just not enough terrestrial radio stations that will play this type of music.
“Power” intermingles two forms of music rooted in black culture with a spiritual passion that penetrates through its superb instrumentation. The collection of songs are perfect for one-on-one time worshipping God or spending time alone for sheer relaxation.
Mostly praise and worship remakes, Ross interprets the songs with a distinct smooth jazz rack of layered mainstream sounds from his usual offerings. Songs like “Friend of God” (Israel & New Breed), “Glorious” (Martha Munizzi) and “Power” are the most upbeat and would be good to wake up to (maybe as an alarm ringtone.) The remainder of the 13 tracks are mellow enough for drifting off to sleep.
With the aid and soothing lure of the flute that opens “The Prayer” (Adrea Bocelli and Celine Dion) it is my lullaby pick. Cameron’s carriage of the gospel classic “When the Saints Go to Worship” (Donald Lawrence) is heavenly. It stands out because like the original the dynamics cause the listener to ascend to another dimension mentally.
I listened to the album and wanted another earful! Not only do I want to hear more from Ross, but from other talented artists like him. We — the folk who enjoy gospel jazz — have to support them to keep this type of content flowing, to grow their audience. This album places Ross in the company of Harold Rayford, Ben Tankard, and Angela Christie, well established Christian instrumentalists who have long been at the top of a short list gospel jazz creators.
I’ll end this review with an appeal to the gospel jazz enthusiast. By support, I mean not only must we purchase this incredible music, but also share it — in the car, in the house, via social media. Artists depend on the demand from people to keep their craft in the universe and for airplay. We truly celebrate Black Music Month by investing in the music we consume so that more of it is produced? Don’t keep all the acoustic goodness to yourself. Ross’ “Power,” like the power of God to which it refers, cannot and should not be contained.