Album:Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration
Here is a very ambitious project that is a gospel, soul and jazz interpretation of Handel's Messiah. It did well on the gospel and R & B charts in 1992. The best known song from this album was an interpretation of the Hallelujah Chorus by an all star choir conducted by Quincy Jones. The recording has turned up on Christmas CDs but the album itself is not a Christmas album. The man behind this album is producer Mervyn Warren. Gospel fans should know him as a member of the very successful 80s a capella group Take 6. After leaving Take 6 in 1991, Warren got into production. He was asked by the Warner Bros. owned gospel label Warner Alliance to produce a gospel interpretation of Handel's Messiah. They decided to go the all star route. Artists appearing on the album include Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Daryl Coley, Chris Willis, Dianne Reeves, Patti Austin, Tramaine Hawkins, Howard Hewett, Stevie Wonder, Take 6, Sounds Of Blackness, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Leaders of the New School, The Richard Smallwood Singers, The Yellowjackets, Commissioned, The Clark Sisters, Al Jarreau and Tevin Campbell. Warren produced most of the tracks. The album ends with an all star choir singing Hallelujah Chorus conducted by Warren and Jones. The choir has no name so I have named them after the album. When you watch the video, I'm sure you will recognize some people but here's who was in the choir. First, the solo at the end of the song is by veteran gospel singer Daryl Coley. Others in the choir are Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Patti Austin, Bernie K., Commissioned, Andrae Crouch, Sandra Crouch, Clifton Davis, Charles S. Dutton, Kim Fields, Larnelle Harris, Edwin Hawkins, Tramaine Hawkins, Linda Hopkins, Al Jarreau, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Lizz Lee, Dawnn Lewis, Babbie Mason, Johnny Mathis, Marilyn McCoo, Mike E., Stephanie Mills, Jeffrey Osborne, David Pack, Phylicia Rashad, Joe Sample, Richard Smallwood, Sounds of Blackness, Take 6, Darryl Tookes, Norman Whitfield, Vanessa Williams and Chris Willis. The album did very well on the gospel and R & B charts and it is available as a budget CD. Not long after this, Mervyn Warren moved to Los Angeles to write and produce songs for the 1993 film Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit. He continues to work in film and TV including the 2012 film Joyful Noise. Here's the video for Hallelujah Chorus by A Soulful Celebration.