Friday, December 24, 2010
Hart Ramsey - Charge It to My Heart
Charge It to My Heart
N-Coded Music (2010)
Dr. Hart Ramsey wears many hats.
He is founder and senior pastor of Northview Christian Church, and teaches at its two locations: Dothan and Montgomery, Alabama. In addition, he is a longtime musician and shares his preaching and musical talents on radio and television.
If that’s not enough to keep him busy, in late October, Ramsey released his debut CD, Charge it to My Heart, for N-Coded Music.
Charge It to My Heart is an hour of pleasant, relaxing smooth jazz performed by a combo of studio-polished musicians. Ramsey is the keyboardist and drum programmer. Naturally, keys lead the songs, though sax and guitar also play significant roles in the presentation. All but four of the thirteen tracks are instrumentals.
The CD is easy on the ears, in a Kirk Whalum sort of way, and reminiscent of a sunny, spring day. I tend to gravitate towards the four songs with lyrics because I cannot seem to wrap my head around the concept of inspirational contemporary jazz without words. It is difficult for me to tease what is inspirational from what is not when no lyrics are involved. One can argue that all contemporary jazz music, if performed well – and it is here – is inspirational because it helps people pray, meditate, dream, or generally be creative. I tend to agree, but to make it truly "gospel" or "inspirational" jazz, show me the lyrics!
“Centerpiece” is the album’s single. It features Kelley O’Neal’s wailing sax and gritty guitar work, including a fiery guitar solo by Eric Essix. For me, “You Are My Life” is the album’s highlight because the lyrics, harmonized delicately by background vocalists, are a testimony about the delights of modern day discipleship. The song structure, repeated lines and blues-inflected chord changes give the performance a gospel feel.
Three of Five Stars
Picks: “You Are My Life.”