Jeff Majors

Sacred 4 You

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Perhaps because the harp's angelic tones don't work well for radio programmers, there aren't many commercial jazz harpists out there once you get past Roberto Perera. Jeff Majors not only does his best to pick up this slack, but he also sings and masterminds a big-hearted gospel-jazz production, complete with strings and choir. The novelty is interesting and his commitment to the gospel message is very sincere, but the execution is slightly hit and miss. Guest vocalist Jean Carne leads a gentle female choir on the opening track, "Somebody Bigger," as Majors swirls some harmony lines in the background, but the piece drags just a bit at seven minutes. "Heard My Cry" steps up the funk, with a whispery spoken word male vocal about God hearing his cry. "Thief in the Night" combines a lush atmosphere with a beautiful harp melody that may remind some of Hiroshima's June Kuramoto's koto. The rest of the disc is divided between up-tempo choir-driven gems and sweet, rhythmic harp showcases, all centered around the message Majors finds "Near the Cross." "America" is an elegant rendering of "America the Beautiful," which combines that harp sweetness with a swelling choir. The restraint Majors shows on what could have been completely overblown is admirable. Guest include keyboardists Leon Huff and Marcus Johnson.

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