Artist: Hezekiah Walker
Album: Azusa The Next Generation
Label: RCA Inspiration
Street Date: June 11, 2013
iPod Pick: No Greater Love
There is a BOLD claim I always love to make among my ‘musical’ friends, which is: LFC (Love Fellowship Choir) which happens to be Hezekiah Walker‘s choir is one of the best choirs ever. In fact most times I tend to rate them above other great choirs I love including the Soweto Gospel Choir, Kirk Franklin‘s Crew, St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir (The choir Anthony Way uses), Choir of King’s College at Cambridge, Swedish Radio Choir, and Westminster Abbey Choir (Yeah, too much British choirs, I know, but Britain [or say Europe]’s got great choirs).
I think I’m always bold to make this bold claim cause the music of Hezekiah Walker has that organic feel of reminding us where we all came from, not just the black race but also the human race. It’s rich, deep like a never-ending well and of high quality like the diamond pendant your granny gave you and you would never want to throw away. It’s music to decipher and let serenade you. You just have to listen. And even as you listen to the music that emanate from Hezekiah’s choir, you would just hear not only the sound, you would hear the conviction, yes the convictions in each of the voices, in the voice of the thirty something single mom who’s had so much to cry about lifting her voice alongside the devotion of the twenty something young lad who heart cry is to live pure and bold in his generation. And isn’t that what we love about choirs? Voices of different texture, timbre and history rising to into one beautiful harmony telling the same story. And that’s beautiful if a choir succeeds in doing that well. Hezekiah Walker always does that well.
On ‘Azusa The Next Generation’, we have the anthemic, powered-up faith chant titled ‘Every Praise’ which is bound to pierce every dark cloud and the choir is at their tightest on this one. We also have Deitrick Haddon doing ‘Break Every Chain’ (which was formerly covered early in the year by Tasha Cobbs on her album ‘Grace’ but I must honestly say I prefer D Haddy’s version not just he can SANG but cause it has more room for response which also makes it ready for easy listen and local church choir renditions). Donnie McClurkin also appears on the soulful, worshipful ‘Breakthrough’, it’s a must listen. Before I close these appetizer givings, Brian Courtney Wilson appears on the chill-back, windows-down ‘Grace’. Beautiful tune that would make you move on the inside.
So much on the new Hezekiah Walker’s ‘Azusa The Next Generation’ and I must say it doesn’t fail to deliver or kick off on the awesomeness of ‘Souled Out’ (Hezekiah’s last album.) Yes it’s been 5 years and we haven’t grown tired of that one. We won’t be getting tired of this one in a long while too. It’s that good.