NEW GOSPEL/JAZZ MUSIC ENSEMBLE PRESENTS REFRESHING UPDATED HYMNS
ABANA is a new Gospel/Jazz music ensemble that is applying refreshing and interesting twists to old religious hymns. Simultaneously, the group includes its own original compositions that run the musical gamut ‘from smooth to groove’.
) is the name of a new Gospel/Jazz music ensemble that converts age-old Christian and Gospel hymns to Modern Jazz re-arrangements in the interest of making hymns
more attractive and appealing to today’s Christian and Gospel listeners. The ensemble will debut its unique musical repertoire live, starting in September.
In explaining the musical direction for the ensemble, Dr. Kenneth Love, ABANA Founder and Musical Director says, “Please allow me to preface my reasoning for our repertoire by saying that I mean this as no disrespect whatsoever, but as a youth growing up in church, I can recall being in the church choir, of which my mother was the choir director and pianist, and being bored to no end with the way we, seemingly, drug out the songs. In those days, even the fast songs were too slow for us kids, with the a capella versions even slower. Then, add to that the long choir robes we were required to wear during hot Texas summers with church air conditioners occasionally breaking down and, well, you may start to see my discomforting point,” he smiles at the memory.
In 2011, Dr. Love released a Modern Jazz compact disc titled cAsE sEnSiTiVe that received worldwide radio airplay, with approximately two hundred stations in the United States alone airing various selections from the release. Additionally, he received a respectable number of media reviews and interviews as well. On the cAsE sEnSiTiVe release, he included a widely familiar Christian selection titled What A Friend that garnered a positive response from Christian and Gospel listeners.
“I included my new arrangement of What A Friend as a trial run, if you will, to see how accepted it would be coming from a different genre, and am happy to say that it continues to receive great reviews for its Jazz version. My arrangement replaces the lead vocal with an alto saxophone and, while its first verse, bridge, and chorus remain true to the original song structure in order to maintain familiarity, the song is enhanced in a myriad of ways as it moves forward,” he adds.
Seeing the positive response to his new Jazz arrangement of What A Friend by the listening public and radio stations alike encouraged Love to proceed with creating an entirely separate musical entity for the purpose of converting and presenting age-old Christian and Gospel music that contains Modern Jazz characteristics and elements that appeal to traditional listeners while attracting new listeners.
“There’s a saying that goes, ‘What’s old is new again,’ and I am enjoying the opportunity and blessing of working with select spiritual music that pays homage to its original version while, simultaneously, presenting a brand new experience. And at the risk of appearing nepotistic, I must say that we also have an incredible group of talented musicians and singers who are musical veterans with long-term experience. As such, not only am I eagerly looking forward to presenting this unique group and its respective repertoire to the public, but I am equally looking forward to the response from its listeners,” Dr. Love says.
The ABANA music website includes member photos, bios, and musical selections available for listening that will also be presented through its live performances. Churches, colleges, and other organizations desiring to include and host a Gospel/Jazz music ensemble for its events can receive more information from the group’s website at www.abanamusic.com