JazzTimes - 10/97, pp.90-91
"...Harris dedicates himself to this, his 'dream' project, with his not inconsiderable powers of pianistic persuasions and the results are exceedingly joyous....a highly successful blend of blues, jazz and gospel that ought to clear out those cobwebs of the soul."
Personnel: Gene Harris (piano); Pastor Ralph E. Beechum, Cherie Buckner, Curtis Stigers, Niki Harris (vocals); Jack McDuff (organ); Ron Eschete (guitar); Luther Hughes (bass); Paul Humphrey (drums); Gregg Field (tambourine, shaker); Steve Hockel (percussion).
Vocal-Ease: Julie Enea, Carol Zbacnik, Betsy Kohler (vocals).
Principally recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, California on December 9 & 10, 1996. Includes liner notes by Wayne Thompson.
Personnel: Gene Harris (piano); Curtis Stigers, Carol Zbacnik, Pastor Ralph E. Beechum, Niki Harris (vocals); Ron Eschete (guitar); Jack McDuff (organ); Paul Humphrey (drums); Gregg Field (shaker, tambourine); Steve Hockel (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Phil Edwards .
Liner Note Author: Wayne Thompson.
Recording information: Capitol Studios, L.A., CA (12/09/1996/12/10/1996); Kirkwood Studios, Concord, CA (12/09/1996/12/10/1996); PER, Hayward, CA (12/09/1996/12/10/1996).
Photographer: Bruce Burr.
Arranger: Gene Harris.
Not only is this gospel album a huge change of pace for Gene Harris, it is also a major departure for Concord Jazz, whose mainstream rep is so ingrained that one would have expected Harris to jump labels in order to do this. For Harris, this is not totally unexpected -- a lot of his work with the Three Sounds had a strong gospel feeling -- but here he goes all the way over and leans into the call-and-response rhetoric with an expansive fervor, while also getting in some blues-drenched licks with his right hand. To drive home the rootsy point, Harris provides backing for the gospel vocals of his daughter Niki and various friends from his Boise, ID, residence -- all of whom do perfectly all right -- and Brother Jack McDuff joins in on soulful organ now and then. While many traditional gospel flagwavers are included here, so are some pop songs ("Lean on Me," "Everything Must Change") that obviously have some of that old-time religious flavor. Some of the slower numbers drag on for a while, but the best tracks have a genuine vitality that ought to conquer any jazz-minded listener. ~ Richard S. Ginell