Chris Jasper – Raise The Bar (screening) (review)

Chris Jasper – Raise The Bar (screening) (review)

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Chris Jasper– raise the bar

Faith, family and the upliftment of community have been recurring themes in the life and music of Chris Jasper in the nearly four decades since his emergence as a lead vocalist and solo artist, after years of being the creative force behind the sounds of the Isley Brothers and Isley Jasper Isley.

Jasper returns to these themes in his latest project, The Still Solid Album Raise the bar. Jasper’s latest project will sound familiar to Isley Brothers fans and to those who have followed his solo career through the 16 R&B and gospel albums he has released over the years.

Chris Jasper– raise the bar

Faith, family and the upliftment of community have been recurring themes in the life and music of Chris Jasper in the nearly four decades since his emergence as a lead vocalist and solo artist, after years of being the creative force behind the sounds of the Isley Brothers and Isley Jasper Isley.

Jasper returns to these themes in his latest project, The Still Solid Album Raise the bar. Jasper’s latest project will sound familiar to Isley Brothers fans and to those who have followed his solo career through the 16 R&B and gospel albums he has released over the years.

Jasper sticks to what works, namely ballads showcasing his velvety tenor with a bonus on romance, up-tempo tracks that feature a funky, propelling bassline, and Jasper’s masterful keyboard work. And as previously stated, the tracks give listeners insight into the things Jasper considers important.

Jasper expresses these priorities explicitly in “We Are the People,” a track that serves as a reminder that the people of this country are united in their belief in fair play, faith, and love of family and community. This sentiment connects ‘We Are the People’ to songs like ‘Harvest For the World’ and ‘Caravan of Love’. The funky title track is a call for communal and individual upliftment, aspirational themes that Jasper expressed in “Superbad.” This tune came out over 30 years ago, but the appeal is no less relevant now.

Jasper delves into themes of family and faith on the tracks “My Little Boy” and “Praising You.” The first is a gentle ballad that finds him looking back at the son who has become a man and expressing a sentiment that will be applicable to any parent. “Praising You” fuses an R&B arrangement with lyrics that express Jasper’s deep religious faith and gratitude for what God has done for him.

Jasper is at his best on the album’s two romantic songs, “Hey Love” and “I Promise.” The latter has a mid-tempo stepper vibe with lyrics that speak of a lifetime commitment, “I Promise” is an ideal wedding song. The cheerful “Hey Love” finds Jasper taking on a passionate yet conversational tone as he expresses how important his wife is to him while gently imploring her to let his feelings flow.

Christopher Jasper’s music has an identifiable sound that shines through in the artist’s worldview and attitude as well as in the musical choices he makes. In a world where so much is changing, this familiarity is comforting, inspiring and enjoyable. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

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