Personnel: Bebe Winans (vocals); Stephanie Mills, Debra Winians Lowe, Magarett Bell Byars (vocals); Allen Hinds (guitar); Tollack Ollestad (harmonica, keyboards); Herman Jackson, Kim Hanson (keyboards); Sekou Bunch (bass); Ricky Lawson (drums); Kevin Ricard (percussion); Chris Rakestraw (programming); Lynette Dupre, Natalie Reiter, Bianca Lea Talyor, Lynne Fiddmont Linsey, Eric Dawkins, Sean Dancy, Byron Cage, Timothy Fowkes (background vocals).
Producers: Kedar Massenburg, Evan Landberg, BeBe Winans.
Recorded at BET Studios, Washington, DC.
LIVE AND UP CLOSE was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.
Whether recording as part of the Winans group or with CeCe Winans as a duet, BeBe Winans has proven eminently capable of playing his role well in collaborations, but it's on his own that the contemporary gospel star truly displays all the multiple facets of his musical personality. BEBE LIVE AND UP CLOSE, as the title implies, offers as good a look at what makes BeBe's music tick as you're likely to get. There's the mellow, balladic, pop-tinged tones of "I Feel in Love With God," the churning gospel soul of "Love & Freedom," the very modern-sounding, synth-flavored R&B of the opening cut "Do You Know Him," and more. Winans even finds a way to give a fresh delivery to an old gospel warhorse like "Amazing Grace," making the listener feel as if they're hearing the old chestnut for the first time. That's the kind of gift that Winans possesses, and LIVE AND UP CLOSE affords the opportunity to witness the singer's magic in action.