Latest review

This is the latest album review for Radio Cornwall. It’s for an album by a friend of mine, Mike Roberts, and the Still Time Band. The album is called The Gospel According to Gershwin and is a cracker. Here’s the review:

The unlikeliest of ingredients can often make the most satisfying dishes … and this month’s album is a classic example.
After all, a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, a Christian jazz band and two of America’s most famous Jewish composers sounds a bizarre mix but, believe me, it works.

The Gospel according to Gershwin is the new album from the Still Time Band led by Mike Roberts, a professor at Guildhall and accomplished jazz pianist. It takes classic songs from George and Ira Gershwin and some of Mike Robert’s own Christian jazz numbers to create a unique show.
It’s a live album which comes with a second interactive CD that includes some of the Still Time Band’s appearances on the BBC TV show Songs of Praise and a special arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue
All the Gershwin numbers you would expect are there in more than an hour of high-quality music.

Mike Roberts takes the lead vocal on a number of songs but their principal vocalist is Lindsey Danvers, one of the most respected theatre artists in the UK. She has played leading roles in Cats, Les Miserables and The King and I and had chart success as a founder member of the all-girl band Toto-Coelo.
One of the musical strong points of Still Time’s work is the contribution of saxophonist Martin Richards – a regular performer in London’s West End and a sensitive contributor to the mellow sound of the Still Time Band.
So how do you share the Christian Gospel using the work of secular Jewish composers? Well, as Mike Roberts explains during the show, the Gershwin brothers’ traditional Jewish upbringing means that there are frequent echoes of the Jewish Scriptures – the Christian Old Testament – in the songs and a clear yearning to explore the mystery of love.
Add to the mix Still Time’s own clearly Christian songs and you have an impressive evening to which you could comfortably invite non-Christian friends.
For me one of the highlights is a Roberts composition: So High reworks the themes of Psalm 103 which reminds us that God’s thought are higher than ours and his love is limitless. The track is on an earlier album of Mike’s but has a neat reworking for live performance that enhances the original.
The one downside to the album is that, because it’s a recording of the entire evening, the talkie bits between the songs can irritate a bit after two or three plays. Thankfully, each intro is recorded as a separate track so you can hop straight to the next piece of music without any hassle.
All in all it’s a great concept and has featured in the Salisbury International Arts Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Greenbelt Festival. It may not be the easiest album to source in a traditional music shop so a visit to the website could be the best way to get your hands on a Gospel gem.

The Gospel according to Gershwin by The Still Time Band (Still Time Music, STMUS0107)


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