Chanticleer's repertoire ranges through many centuries. On this recording, the group again proves its infinite versatility in a program of gospel music and spirituals. The singing is so authentic that one feels like a participant in a gospel meeting, swaying to the rhythm with the crowd. Contributing greatly to the impact is Chanticleer's guest, Yvette A. Funder. Possessor of a voice remarkable for its range, power, and flexibility, she brings to the music the empathy and authority of one born and raised in the tradition, whether leading call-and-response, engaging in improvisations that soar high above the chorus, crooning softly in meditation, or shouting in ecstasy. (She is also an active Bishop ministering to the poor and afflicted, and the founder of various social service agencies in California.) Several songs include soloists drawn from the chorus as well, most notably a tenor, a countertenor and a bass who provides a rhythmic ostinato. The program, designed for maximum variety of tempo, mood, character and texture, includes many favorite songs and spirituals, such as "Amazing Grace," "There is a Balm in Gilead," "Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child." The arrangements by Joseph Jennings, Chanticleer's Music Director for 20 years, are admirably simple and very good; only a few are marred by awkward modulations or overly sophisticated, Hollywood-inspired effects. Most of them are for a cappella voices. Jennings also contributes a new original composition: "Be still and Know that I'm God." Repeating these words like an invocation, it builds a cumulative drama with increasingly wild, elaborate improvisations in call-and-response between soloist and chorus; supported by a prominent piano part that includes solos, chordal and running passages, it ends with a rousing climax. --Edith Eisler
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It is hard to find words to describe this CD. I do not buy many CDs and, despite the modest price for a used copy, I waited a while before purchasing this one. I was afraid I would be disappointed.
I wasn't. In fact, I want to listen to it every day but I hold back because I don't want to ruin the sense of sacred by allowing it to become overly familiar. As I try to formulate the basis for this sensation, several things come to mind. First, the choice of spirituals and gospel music is an excellent mix and the arrangements and medleys are superb. They are simultaneously traditional and new, so that the original hymn is not lost but shines with a freshness that brings it life. Chanticleer's performance seems flawless without sounding flawless, if that makes sense. In other words, the performance does not sound like it was carefully orchestrated so as to be "perfect", but rather it carries a looser, deeply-felt sense of spirit that feels authentic on many levels...
Easter Sunday morning I woke to a KUSC broadcast on my ITouch of Chanticleer's ''Amazing Grace':'How Sweet the Sound'. For a moment, I wondered whether I'd finally crossed over.
From a vantage point that sees over 70++ years I was allowed the momentary gift of 'sight beyond time'. ( After all: the Ba'al Shem Tov told us:'G-D is truly beyond time'.) And I've no doubt that, as she sings, Bishop Flunder is indeed a witness in G-D's time
Amazing Grace: How Sweet the Sound-- my Story: For my family, WWII was a time of travel over great distance. In 1946 we lived north of Seattle, my father had returned from a short tour as US Navy Chaplain and subsequently served as Chaplain/Community Worker to the returning Pacific Coast military. This was Scandinavian Country with Nordic folk songs, guitars, fiddles, and zithers. Later, we toured with a Rabbi who would tuck his fiddle in his arm, play and dance the Hora with me! Then my Mother sent me to a (Dutch) Christian...
for Chanticleer fans who like spirituals, this record is the top of the mountain. Bishop Yvette Fulder adds the perfect touch as the soloist.
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