by SounDoctrine – reviewed by Chris Mann

Anyone who has read my reviews of Perseverance and Endurance will know how deeply I appreciate SounDoctrine’s ‘Alternative Christian Funk’.

With the release of 2010’s ‘Inspire’, we have a new set of positive messages to groove to – it will be my pleasure to take you through them… 

The opener ‘Just Think’ features the fabulous vocals of Marlon Saunders and is a midtempo tune which enjoys a stripped-down production.  The offbeat time signature could make the song tricky to get into on first hearing but stick with it – those vocals and some very nice keyboard touches will reward you.  I like the way this song runs into ‘Brother’s Keeper’- another example of leader Jere B’s ability to wed a meaningful lyric with a head-noddin’ beat.  It’s far from being a basic 4/4 dance beat but you’ll be drawn in.  Enjoy the vocals and some nice percussive accents.  I’d love to hear this with live horns – one day soon, Jere. 

Now, now ‘Marriage’ is right up my alley.  A slinky funk groove with Incognito-style keyboards and Ragan Whiteside’s lovely flute carrying the melody.  The immaculate layering of a sax, flute and keyboard line reminds me of Jeff Lorber’s sound too – and that is one of the highest compliments I can offer.  This song is outstanding!!  We swing into another instrumental - ‘Sacred Place’ - and there is a lovely vibes sound courtesy of Cliff Barnes (no, not the dude from Dallas) and some lovely ‘clicky’ rhythm guitar from Paul Douds.  The lazy Latin feeling makes me imagine recording sessions running late into the summer night – ok that’s just me romanticising but the music takes me there.  Take a listen and see what I mean… 

Right in the urban groove, with a touch of jazz, is the ballad ‘Meant to Be’ and here the vocals of Stefano NuSoul and Jasmine Thompson will capture you while Keith McKelley’s soprano sax adds the sweetest touch.  It’s a very sensual track – let’s even say sexy.  ‘Relax (The Freedom Mix)’ should really be a single.  It’s very cool indeed – for the R&B market fair and square with irresistible hooks and Errin Thompson’s great rap and vocal stylings.  This should be on TV commercials and heard pouring out of some serious street machines. 

The atmosphere stays upbeat for the funky and zany instrumental ‘Originalalternativejazzfunkfusion’ – which articulates how Jere B feels and plays his music and represents the parts of himself that he pours into SounDoctrine’s music.  How do I know that?  He told me.  ‘War NO More’, in contrast, is very brooding and ominous.  Its slow, menacing rhythm and a searing guitar sound that would not be out of place on an Ernie Isley record make the point all too clearly.  War?  It’s a nowhere trip – a disaster. 

The title track is closer to what people will think of as a gospel song.  It builds to a full choir chorus, supported by piano and strings.  Some very passionate vocal performances are drawn from the long list of Youngstown’s finest.  My view that SounDoctrine is a home for real ‘soul music’ is borne out by the appearance of The Edsels on the lovely ‘Love Wins Again’.  It has touches of doo-wop, a modern rhythm track, horns that you would think Willie Mitchell had arranged and some real soul.  Sometimes it’s good to look over your shoulder…

‘Surrender’, a funky contemporary jazz stepper, was the first track I picked up for my radio show and I still love it.  Keith McKelley’s sax undergoes some studio tricks and comes out with hints of Sanborn, Marion Meadows, Nelson Rangell – all the cats you want playing on your records really.  Still in a stylish jazz vein, ‘Resurrection’ sways along in ¾ time and I’m smiling at a doubled vibes and sax line while Alton Merrell’s piano underlines the beat.  The piano solo delves deeper into jazz territory before Paul Dowd’s rock guitar in a DeWayne McKnight style takes us off somewhere else… 

‘Ellen’s Arrival’ opens with a TV sound effect before Jere B gets his reggae drumming thing on.  And he really does have it going on!  A competition was launched to find a lyricist who could put words to the strong melody of ‘(That’s Why) It’s Called Love.  The winner, JeAnnette Singleton, did a great job and result is a reminder of what the album – like the band – is all about.  It’s intense and the rock guitar fade serves to underline that fact. 

This is another strong record for SounDoctrine – it branches off in some interesting directions but stays true to the message the band set off to deliver with their first CD and the many live appearances they did in order to spread the word.  I call them a band but I think of SounDoctrine more as family and Jere B as the head of the family.  The liner notes for almost every song credit Jere B with ‘all other sounds and noises’ well, let me tell you, he’s making some very good sounds and noises to my ear. 

If you’re not hip to originalalternativejazzfunkfusion – get hip! 

CD and download available at CD Baby, download available on iTunes, clips on Reverbnation.


Niayana Recordings – Niya101010 – Producers – Jere B and Jerry Thompson