1. Precious Lord 2. Closer 3. Invitation To Groove 4. Safe In His Arms 5. Revolution Of Smooth 6. Possibilities 7. Faithful 8. Upward Bound 9. One Eleven 10. Unexplainable 11. Footwork 12. The Groove Reprise
Kephyan Sheppard Kephyan: Revealed
The new album Revealed by Kephyan Sheppard is an honorable contribution to smooth jazz. Sheppard’s debut combines soulful gospel and jazz-laced soul in a well executed musical collision. The man is an accomplished saxophonist, and his abilities are well displayed here.
His gospel background is clear from the first note. The initial track, entitled “Precious Lord,” comes in with breath-taking organ work that immediately evokes gospel choirs and church hymns. The organ provides a solid foundation for Sheppard’s saxophone to sail over. But if any track on the album is single material, it is “Closer.” The sax on this track aims straight at the heart of jazz, while the structure that holds it up has a backbone built from R&B.
In terms of style, the album is a crossroads of genre. It doesn’t quite fit fully into any single realm. The majority of the album takes its shape from traditional jazz ensemble musical arrangements featuring Sheppard in the driver’s seat, steering the songs with his soaring saxophone melodies. But at the same time, there are beats whose roots are clearly in R&B territory and the aforementioned gospel influences. It’s a musical hybrid that’s hard to pin down.
The album occupies an extremely specific niche and listeners are likely to take a love-it or hate-it stance upon hearing it. The tone of the album is unerringly positive and hopeful. For those interested in smooth jazz and easy listening music, there may be something here worth listening to. For others however, the mood of the album may be too saccharine. Like any cup of tea, it’s all a matter of taste.
Key Tracks - Closer, Precious Lord, Invitation To Groove