Rafeal Ross: New Creation – Live

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Posted September 13, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

rafealross00Singer/worship leader invests in a comfortable live setting for his debut, although overcooked with too many interludes and reprises

Combine the vocal texture of North Carolina’s Richard Odom and the smack of Earnest Pugh together and you can pretty much sum up the vocal presentation of D.C. native Rafeal Ross. The charmingly handsome soul with a musical style poised in contemporary praise and worship delivers his independent debut, New Creation Live, through the summation of a live recording. He calls on fellow local talent including producer and respected musician Tyrone Powell and CCM artist Tifani Wilson to help steer the project into good territory.

Although young to the gospel music scene, Ross has a resume’ of experience worth jotting over – highlighted with a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from George Mason University, (Virginia) and an impressive servant’s record as Director of Music at his home church of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church (Herndon, VA). His experience as a worship leader is what ultimately prepared him for his own spotlight in the recording arena. Let it be said that he does a fine job in capturing the ear while using his trumpeting upper register and lots of narrating to soulfully decorate the songs given him. Where he unfortunately faces his greatest challenge is in his unforgivable lengthiness. With eighteen tracks combined, Ross blends long worship choruses with draggy reprises and talking segments. To hammer out the blatant truth behind New Creation, you have to look at the number of reprises assembled (seven) including the four-minute introduction from Dr. Randy Haynes. Sometimes reprises are very much needed, especially when it bring in refreshing ideas like key changes, guest appearances and even a higher level of raw enthusiasm. But on here, the reprises are only are a shadow of the precursor.

Of the good points, Ross rides the comfortable melodies of “I’m Free” and the uptempo fun slice of “His Grace Was Enough.” The latter contains a big horn arrangement and a rocking contemporary gospel drive that resembles Judith McAllister’s “Hallelujah, You’re Worthy.” On the title track, Ross is giving plenty of room to exercise the full range of his voice, milking the gorgeous verses surrounding Joe Van Buren’s atmospheric piano. It also helps in providing interested music labels and artist scouts with a healthy glimpse into Ross’s song writing potential. For those seeking to hear a church-friendly worship chorus, look no further than “I Magnify Your Name” and “None Like You.” Both are paced like Richard Smallwood introits, although they never materialize and upgrade with climaxing with a much-needed full band.

Sure to impress those hungry for a healthy balance of uptempo and slow burning worship anthems, New Creation is a comfortable introduction, albeit a tad long-winded, to a promising young talent.

J MATTHEW COBB

HIFI DETAILS

  • Release Date: 20 Jan 2010
  • Label: Catapult
  • Producers: Tyrone Powell
  • Track Favs: I’m Free, His Grace Was Enough, New Creation


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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