Since emerging in the 1990s as an incredibly rhythmic and melodic composer and keyboardist (whose musical background included winning Emmys for sports themed music), John Tesh has made no bones about infusing his music with strong elements of his deep Christian faith. This disc, which is a companion soundtrack to a DVD of his hugely successful music and dance touring production, dramatically juxtapose elements of both. The massive production, which was inspired by the artist's sneak peak at his young daughter's dance lessons, features a cast of nearly a 100 kids between 13 and 21. His always prominent piano is backed by youthful solo singers, a choir, a full band, and a string section. What you can't experience on the CD alone are the powerful visuals of the young dancers, some performing ballet, others more contemporary hip-hop and lyrical styles. Musically, the 12 tracks tap into the many aspects of Tesh's expansive artistry, from his love for electronic based world music (the symphonic, richly percussive "Drumline," the Latin vocal-spiced "Canta Domine"), upbeat synth and electric guitar driven grooves ("Two Worlds"), and lush piano pieces ("Beginnings," "Garden City"). He saves his gospel/worship vibe for the last two tracks, a lively church choir rendition of Mary Mary's exuberant "Shackles" and a medley of "Awesome God," and Kirk Franklin's "He Reigns." While the music only tells half the story, the CD version of Alive: Music & Dance is not only a high-spirited concert experience but a powerful overview of the many musical faces of an amazing instrumental artist.
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran