Percy Faith


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Percy Faith released two religious albums right on top of each other in 1957: Hallelujah, a new collection of Christmas tunes, and Jubilation, a reissue of Swing Low in Hi-Fi from 1956. It is unclear what prompted Columbia to repackage an album that had been released only a year earlier; perhaps poor sales were the reason. If so, the album deserved a second chance. Faith's tribute to Negro spirituals is not a work of inspirational mood music, but a collection of timeless melodies presented in occasionally robust orchestral arrangements. It was a common practice on instrumental albums to use a wordless vocal chorus, but Jubilation! is purely orchestral. Although some of Faith's arrangements are fairly moody, particularly on Side Two, "All God's Children Got Wings" is rhythmic and bright, and "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel" builds to a dramatic climax with horns and percussion. Jubilation doesn't require a particular enthusiasm for sacred music from its listeners, only an appreciation for Faith's expert arranging abilities.