One of the most anticipated events at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is the set by the Gospel Soul Children, who close out the gospel tent on the final day. This CD collects some of the greatest hits of one of the best-loved choirs in the city of New Orleans. The choir of 60-plus "children" of all ages is renowned for its big sound, joyful singing arrangements, and imaginative choreography. Attired in their matching outfits of the year -- be it red t-shirts or Hawaiian shirts -- the Gospel Soul Children dazzle the crowd with their Esther Williams-like routines. Their popular rendition of "Just Can't Stop Praising God's Name" exemplifies their style when they move in unison, spin, stop action in sections until the entire choir is frozen, then reverse themselves into movement, much to the delight of fans. But the Gospel Soul Children never forget who they came for: They are there to praise the name of the Lord. They do so on this recording with uplifting songs such as "Oh, Happy Day," "When the Saints Go Marching In," and "Down by the Riverside." Rich in soloists, many of the children step in front to sing a gospel message, as in the opening number, "Is Your All on the Altar?" The Gospel Soul Children are joined on the CD by trumpeter Milton Batiste, who produced the album. Jazz pianist Davell Crawford makes a guest appearance on "If You've Come to Have Church," which he wrote. The CD closes out with the beautiful "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour." The Gospel Soul Children just can't stop.
AllMusic Review by Rose of Sharon Witmer