Monday, April 15, 2013

Shake Heaven - Montell Jordan and Victory World Music




Multi-cultural worship at its finest

Shake Heaven
Artist: Montell Jordan and Victory World Music
Label: Victory World Music (www.victoryworldmusic.com)
Length: CD (13 tracks/66.17 minutes) & DVD (18 tracks/100 minutes plus bonus tracks)

A variety of music styles enrich this worship experience. In particular, this makes me appreciate the influence of African Americans. Here it takes the form of distinctly urban sounds, smooth R&B and hip-hop. It is especially evident on the opening songs led by Montell Jordan.

This applies to the CD and DVD, which vary in performers, content and song order. The CD contains studio versions of the tracks found on the concert DVD. In addition, the DVD includes introductions, a dramatic testimony, an interview with Montell Jordan and additional songs not found on the CD.

The DVD is the main feature, offering a more immersive experience. The Shake Heaven CD was previously released separately.

The concert, which was recorded on 11/11/11, also reveals a charismatic influence. Jordan announces that someone in the audience will be healed and encourages everyone to be expectant. It also includes an impassioned prayer on “Usable” and a spoken word segment extolling the wonder of a holiness that makes us whole. Jordan makes it clear that this is more than a concert; it’s a sincere desire to worship God in everything, and this succeeds admirably.

There is hardly a misstep. The performances and production are nearly flawless. This may not get as much attention as more popular releases by other artists, but the quality here is as good or better. The variety makes this unique. This ranges from the aforementioned African American influence to pop, rock, folk and even classical.

It’s also great to see different races performing together, each contributing to the whole, including Rachel Lampa, who makes a couple of guest appearances on the DVD. It makes me want to see the inclusion of other cultural influences. Native American immediately comes to mind, but no need to stop there.

Perhaps the peak of this performance is “You Are” featuring Chris August on the studio version and Christian Lewis on the DVD. The latter’s performance is especially electrifying. The winsome rhythm and creative lyrics extol what it means to be in relationship with God. It’s the ultimate feel-good song, but it’s not inward-looking. Like all of these wonderful expressions, the gaze is on God.    
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