On The Table Read, “the best entertainment magazine in the UK“, the Los Angeles Community Chorus are sharing the new LP from L.A.’s Jimetta Rose and her choir The Voices of Creation, Let The Sunshine In.
The Voices Of Creation
The Voices of Creation are a community-based choir led by vocalist, songwriter, arranger, producer and mainstay of the Los Angeles scene, Jimetta Rose. Made up of a multigenerational group of mainly non-professional singers backed by some of the city’s finest musicians, their music marries hip strains of gospel with layers of jazz, soul and funk.
While aspects of their music might recall Kamasi Washington, The Staple Singers or Sly Stone, Jimetta’s unique vision has resulted in new spiritually-charged forms of music whose whole-hearted embrace of love, joy and peace act as sonic healing balms for the soul.
The choir, mostly non-professional singers and very much a community choir to the nods to incredible early 70s spiritual jazz (in particular the Sons and Daughters of Lite), are sharing the Let The Sunshine In video and announcing the album, How Good It Is.
“I used to go on deep dives searching for a genre that I called “spiritual jazz”. Sons and Daughters of Lite was one of the early jewels that I found. The original song has two-part harmony and I’d always sing along with these ghost notes that I heard and so when I started recording the demos to use as teaching tools for the choir that’s just what I did; I added those parts. It’s such an uplifting song, so full of light and love; the addition of our introduction and the words life, love, more abundantly seemed perfect. This song is often the opening to our live set and it sets the tone for what we’re sharing each time we hit that stage. The sun shines for every person not just some, we sing with that same brave and inclusive love.”
For Jimetta – whose resume includes collaborations with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Angel Bat Dawid, Shafiq Husayn, MED and Blu – the very act of creation was part of a healing process.
“I was very low at the time and I wrote most of the songs going through hardship. But I found comfort in the songs and a way to adjust my mindset to where things got better. So I thought ‘if this music works for me, maybe it will work for other people’ I believe that every person has their own voice and their own note and that we can use our voices to heal ourselves. That’s the intention behind creating the project.”
Los Angeles Community Choir
After putting out a call on social media for people interested in joining her choir she was met with a sea of replies. Members were chosen in less-than conventional fashion: “I recruited people based on their interest in healing themselves and others, not necessarily on their musical experience or being seasoned performers” she says.
Among those accepted into the ever-evolving collective, which was begun initially as a community choir, were the likes of Sly Stone’s daughter Novena Carmel, better known as a radio DJ for KCRW’s flagship breakfast show. Jimetta’s upbringing in the Pentecostal church, where she was a youth choir director, fed into her otherwise intuitive teachings of her songs and arrangements to the inexperienced members with help from the group’s seasoned organ player/co-musical director Jack Maeby.
Produced by Mario Caldato Jr. (Beastie Boys, Seu Jorge) and his wife Samantha Caldato the results show the incredible sense of togetherness and communal spirit that the group had built up over time in the rehearsal sessions.
The six tracks of their debut album, a mixture of originals and rearranged covers, are performed in a wide-eyed mix of styles that reflect Jimetta’s vision for borderless music: “It’s new black classical music,” she explains. “It’s all the hodgepodge of being an African American but also with creativity and vision for the future. It has a taste of what is to come and what we can do. What we have gone through and who we are now.”
Let The Sunshine In
The group’s propensity for warm and buoyant sonics finds representation on album opener Let The Sunshine In, a sparkling rework of the Sons and Daughters of Lite’s deep jazz classic. Their version finds the group’s dynamic group harmonies offset with Allakoi Peete’s nimble afro-percussive touches and plenty of soul-drenched keys courtesy of pianist Quran Shaheed and organ player Jack Maeby.
A similarly uplifting take on Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s choral jazz classic Spirits Up Above follows, with Maeby’s groove-laden organ lines inspiring some gorgeous group harmonies as well as prime solo turns from the likes of Kellye Hawkins, Zavier Wise, Tamara Blue, and Khalila Gardner.
Another Sons and Daughters of Lite cover follows as Jimetta leads the choir in the groove-drenched ode to self-affirmation Operation Feed Yourself. Written as a series of mantras for everyday living, the Jimetta-penned composition How Good It Is harnesses the full transformative power of music to generate a stirring and joyful ode to positivity – it’s chanted declarations bringing out some of the group’s most deeply-felt and affecting vocal performances over some superlative piano and organ accompaniment with a surprise feature vocal from Novena Carmel.
Answer The Call
Jimetta’s talent for re-imagining songs in her own light is highlighted in Answer The Call, her vivid re-telling of Funkadelic’s Cosmic Slop: “When I listened to the original song, the Mom in the story was really going through it. I thought of how I could turn this into a song that can encompass the glorification of all mothers and I thought of the Egyptian cosmic goddess Nut. To that mother we’re all the seeds planted in the garden. Answering the call in your life is literally that. Finding out exactly what you’re here for through your heart.”
Ain’t Life Grand
The album finishes with the standout original gospel number Ain’t Life Grand. Over swaying organs and clapped percussion Jimetta’s lyrical mantras serve to emphasise the good feelings that come to those with a grateful heart. Good feeling is an apt descriptor for the mood of the album as a whole. Its shining positivity provides a welcome ray of light in an increasingly dark world.
“It’s a shortcut if you will to the better feelings” Jimetta says. “The hope that we need to keep pressing forward. We are saturated and inundated with images of chaos and destruction, death and hatred. There’s so much we can witness. So, I want to make sure that there is a representation sonically of the other parts that are still there to witness so that we can continue to build those things. So that the systems we support actually reflect what we want to experience. So it’s like: “Don’t give up and Let The Sunshine Into You” and then find out what your purpose is and answer the call.”
Let The Sunshine In Video
June 14 – Let The Sunshine In Video + Album Announce
I used to go on deep dives searching for a genre that I called “spiritual jazz” . Sons and Daughters of Lite was one of the early jewels that I found. The original song has two part harmony and I’d always sing along with these ghost notes that I heard and so when I started recording the demos to use as teaching tools for the choir that’s just what I did; I added those parts. It’s such an uplifting song, so full of light and love; the addition of our introduction and the words life, love, more abundantly seemed perfect. This song is often the opening to our live set and it sets the tone for what we’re sharing each time we hit that stage. The sun shines for every person not just some, we sing with that same brave and inclusive love.
How Good It Is
July 19 – How Good It Is
I wrote this song looking out the window of my old childhood bedroom, imagining peace, imagining calm and what that would feel like if we all had it. It began as directions to myself on how to live life more aligned with the divine, and more filled with gratitude. It also speaks to the ease that enters your life when you look out from your eyes with a heart that is grateful. Things just keep getting better and better. I’m a long way from where I was when I wrote this; I definitely survived some loss and challenge but I can see “how good it is” now and I’m looking forward to what is to come.
Find More From The Voices Of Creation Now
Jimetta Rose – Director
Jack Maeby – Music Director, Organ
Quran Shaheed – Piano
Allakoi Peete – Percussion
Gaby Hernandez – Soprano
Andree Belle- Soprano (Let The Sun Shine In + Aint Life Grand only)
Cassandra Hawkins – Soprano (Let The Sun Shine In + Aint Life Grand only)
Roz Kumari- Soprano (Let The Sun Shine In + Aint Life Grand only)
Novena Carmel – Alto
Tamara Blue – Alto
Khalila Gardner – Alto
Kellye Hawkins – Tenor (+ solo feature on Answer The Call)
Zavier Wise – Tenor/ Baritone (not on- Let The Sun Shine In + Aint Life Grand)
Yohance Wright – Bass (not on- Let The Sun Shine In + Aint Life Grand)
Fred McNeil- Baritone
Samir Moulay- Tenor/Baritone (Let The Sun Shine In + Aint Life Grand only)
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