The prosperity gospel" with its detractors and supporters has created quite a stir recently. This controversial message of personal, emotional, and spiritual wholeness has been commended for its positivity and denounced for its apparent emphasis on a faith equals wealth" formula. Spiritual Jazz artist Tyrone Birkett makes an effort to musically reconcile this issue on his debut CD In The Fullness Of Time" on the Convergence Music Group label. Tyrone remarks, Jazz & gospel were born out a people persevering through poverty & pain, searching for a way to express themselves to their God, to each other, and to themselves. It is only fitting that jazz & gospel with their unique attributes, be used together to express hope & resolution. My intent on this CD was to inspire the listener to reach for meaning & purpose in life and to balance that with triumph over adversity". This concept has been in development for a long time. Growing up in New York City playing in the Holiness church on Sundays while studying Bird, Coltrane and Grover Washington Jr. every other day, at age fifteen he had the pleasure to play in the jazz church" St. Peters Lutheran in NYC. Even then he was forming an interesting amalgam of gospel and jazz. And with direction from such giants as Budd Johnson and Frank Foster early in his development, followed by real life experience in venues sacred and secular, Tyrone has crafted his unique approach.
The CD In The Fullness if Time", also featuring vocalist Paula Ralph-Birkett is a manifestation of this approach. I went back to study Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of gospel music, and his effort to combine sacred music with blues and jazz", Tyrone explains. So I took what was organic and natural to me - Coltrane, jazz fusion like Herbie Hancock and Weather Report, 70s soul music and contemporary gospel, and had them all converge naturally, without forcing the issue." This project brings together virtuosic but accessible saxophone improvisations, innovative jazz fusion spins on gospel standards, and soothing tone poems and ballads. Add to that, funky but smart groove tunes, and vocals alternating between powerful Dianne Reeves-like exhortations and intimate monologues. All of the selections are anchored by the attentive musicianship of New York's best up and coming jazz and gospel talent, including Lonnie Plaxico and Dapp Theory sideman Kenny Grohowski on drums and Afromantra pianist Pablo Vergara, formerly of the Chico Freeman and Dave Valentin bands. Chico Freeman, Jazz & gospel listeners and music critics alike have applauded this project.
I could only speculate that the intent of Birkett and Ralph-Birkett was to uplift and relax the listener's soul through their music. If that is in fact truth, they hit the bull's-eye! Even if you don't normally listen to Gospel music don't shy away from this CD, there is more than enough to satisfy and excite any Jazz lover. This is an excellent recording that any listener will love". Larry A. Detweiler, Jazz Improv Magazine Spring 2007
Convergence Music Group and Tyrone Birkett are supporting this release with a summer Northeastern/Canadian tour, local NYC events such as their monthly gig at the Harlem Tea Room, and an upcoming event at the Schomburg Library in Harlem. This event entitled the Harlem Book Fair BBQ Jazz & Author Lunch is sponsored by the QBR/ Harlem Book Fair, Saturday July 21, 2007 with 2 sets at 12pm and 1:30pm.
HBF BBQ Jazz & Author Lunch
with Zane and Omar Tyree
featuring the Tyrone Birkett Group with Paula Birkett
Date: Saturday, 7/21/07
Venue: The Schomburg Library Outdoor Court Yard
515 Malcolm X Blvd. NY, NY (Lenox Avenue at W135th St.)