Many African Americans are aware of the significance of the 19th day of June, better known as Juneteenth. Known also as “Emancipation Day,” on June 19, 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was read to enslaved people in Texas, informing them that they were indeed free. For Gospel Jazz recording artist Richard D’Abreu, Jr., June 19, 2020, is a day of freedom as well.
The talented saxophonist, keyboardist and mentee of improvisational master Max Roach chose this special day to debut his new Gospel Jazz record, Jazz in the Spirit. The artist, who is a lifelong music student, a veteran of seven international concert tours, and has performed with notables such as James Taylor, Patti LaBelle, Bishop T.D. Jakes and the late Natalie Cole, is making the record available on all digital music outlets on June 19th. Physical product is available on the artist’s website, www.jazzinthespirit.com.
A project several years in the making and billed as “a release commemorating a release,” Richard’s musical emancipation takes flight with a collection of 14 Jazz-inspired tracks. In talking about the new record, he says, “I want the project to give people an address where their spirits can be lifted. I want to give them hope instead of the constant barrage of depressing news that we hear day in and day out.”
Fans of the artist’s music ministry will see that he does just that with the familiar cut, “Look and Live.” The track has been getting love from a variety of radio stations around the country. Showcasing the smooth, yet inspiring sounds of D’Abreu’s sax, the song is pure magic. Other songs like the funky “Superhuman,” a standout with its rhythmic and urban stylings and a Caribbean rendition of the popular church hymn, “Count Your Blessings,” flaunt the diversity of this clever musician. “Only Want to Serve You” is fan favorite when performed live. To the delight of ears everywhere, Richard gives the listener over seven minutes of this masterpiece.
The Latin jazz grooves of “La Pureza del Amor de Cristo” are sure to set hearts aflame. Oozing with mellow and improvisational vibes, “Wednesday Afternoon” takes the listener away with its soft piano work and soprano sax. Richard’s original ballad, “23rd Psalm,” includes a spoken word prelude and postlude. Accented with background vocals delivered by a sweet ensemble, Don Corey Washington soars with his impressive lead vocals on this one. Richard also performs a jazzy version of Charles Albert Tindley’s “By and By” and another spirited song, “Light of the World”. He closes the CD with a “Look and Live Reprise Vocal Jam,” giving us just a little bit more of one of the project’s strongest tracks. Jazz In the Spirit contains over an hour of uplifting tunes by a gifted performer of Gospel Jazz.
The genre is a melding, not only of two African American art forms, but of two passions of Richard’s. Growing up with jazz records by Sonny Rollins and Cannonball Adderley wafting through his childhood home and later on honing his musical talents at the renowned Concord Baptist Church of Christ in New York City, it was a given that he would master both. An educated musician, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Music, specializing in ethnomusicology, from Brown University and a Professional Diploma in Professional Music, specializing in Saxophone Performance and Songwriting. He is the owner of RD3 Music, a publishing, performance and production company and the Minister of Music at Fourth Baptist Church in Richmond, VA.
For more information about Richard D’Abreu, Jr., log on to www.jazzinthespirit.com or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.