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An inspirational ensemble fluidly blending jazz, gospel & R&B melodies with transcendent messages of faith, love & peace. The debut CD "All Is Well", released in 2009 to critical acclaim & is quickly becoming a staple in spiritual communities EVERYWHERE.

New York based music ensemble Forever Forward is the sound of NOW. Fluidly blending jazz, gospel and R&B melodies with transcendent messages of faith, love and peace, the group is the brainchild of professionally trained musicians Kevin Brightman and Derek Gibbs. Their debut All is Well is a masterwork, ten years in the making.

Executive produced by songwriting duo Brightman and Gibbs, the soaring collection is a diverse array of music for the soul. The pair uses their background as choir directors to infuse the rhythms, harmonies and emotional energy of gospel into anthems celebrating the universal principles of love, life and transformation. Each song is a unique dispatch designed to uplift and nourish the spirit. A spectacular example of musics power to heal and transform, All is Well is an evocative album that will raise consciousness and assist in healing the world.

An inspirational music ensemble that fluidly blends jazz, gospel, and R&B melodies with transcendent messages of faith, love and peace. The debut album "All Is Well" was released in 2009 to critical acclaim quickly becoming a staple in spiritual communities. The New York based ensemble's official website is at www.ForeverForward.com.

The healing power of music is vastly underrated, far less understood.  Positive mindset these days is a rare quality in the entertainment industry.  More unique is a collective of powerful musicians.  In the days of super-divas and robotic choruses, many find it easier to simply produce music, rather then take the time to gather together a group of artists and focus their energy.  Forever Forward’s new album, All is Well, brings together solo artist caliber performances into joyous choral harmony with jazzy gospel power, blending beautiful music with an irresistible message of hope.  This is music that can help restore the body, refresh the soul, all one must do is listen or better yet sing a long.  Believing truly is half the spiritual (quantum physical, if you prefer) battle for health and happiness.

 

Every good choir takes planning, discipline, and unyielding joy.  If someone isn’t happy, everyone feels it, everyone knows it.  The hidden secret in Forever Forward is that every vocal member can sing any part with passion.  Sitting surrounded by the sound of All is Well, one experiences a vicarious slice of the feeling, which is akin to goose-bumps on the skin, butterflies in the stomach, a sense of stillness in the mind, a sense of peace for the heart.  These are not mere metaphors; this sort of music helps the body in indescribable ways.  The feeling of singing in the midst of Forever Forward would feel akin to flying, the power of their harmony would be uplifting and a thousand fold the feeling of just listening.  To create these sorts of spine-tingling sounds requires brilliant talent under charismatic inspiration.  It is oft the directors, conductors and composers who are needed for the conception, the reason to bring such a group of talented people together in the first place.  The coordination of Kevin Brightman and Derek Gibbs is the spiritual glue that bonds this group with a driving sense of faith.  Gibbs spoken word at the beginning of Peace be Still is one of the most hopeful outpourings in recent memory and well surmises the lyrical sense of the album “…from some of life’s greatest challenges comes our greatest opportunities for growth.  That is when we should be still, and remember.”  This is a difficult lesson to grasp in our fast-paced society, yet all the more important.  It is this sort of philosophy that no doubt drives the optimism of Forever Forward; positive relentless faith.  Much needed hope in times when many are quick to despair instead of taking on the challenge as inspiration.

 

The simple yet powerful message of All is Well speaks to the soul.  A subtle phrase is treated to every imaginable variation, single verses blooming into menagerie of cadenced harmony.  It is difficult to grasp the technical aspect of the soloists, much of it simply un-writable, created in the moment.  The combined gifts of the solo artists intermingling as background vocalists create a grand effect, giving the choir a full robust sound that is strong and surprising.  Quick technical accuracy blends well with wild soul-felt expressions of sheer joy.  The only critique I can muster is that one wishes some of the beautiful chords were given a little more time, because they are so well done, such pretty harmonies.  The range and capability of the vocalists is incredible, but somewhat overwhelming.  The huge cadences are very impressive, yet I find myself going back for the bold harmonies where everyone is singing and playing at once, all perfectly in tune and together.  Forever Faith’s inspiration is truly in their potential and how empowering they are for the listener.  “What do you wish to experience?”   Ask yourself that in all honestly and listen to All is Well.  We must have faith to believe in possibility; otherwise we predetermine our fate with doubt, which is preposterous because no one knows the future.  The lessons are universal, positive, and profoundly applicable to life.  “So let love be all that you experience.”  And indeed, it was!

 

Reviewed By Julian Gorman

Artist Trove

Forever Forward are a New York inspirational ensemble; they prefer not to describe themselves as a gospel group because their founders - Derek Gibbs and Kevin Brightman - want their music to be genre-denying and to appeal right across the faiths. Their aim is to use music to encourage positivity and optimism and whether it manages to lead listeners to a new state of consciousness (another of the duo's goals) is very much down to the mindset and receptivity of each particular listener. That said, 'All Is Well' is very much in the classic gospel tradition. The songs offer gospel's traditional reassurances; the searing solos, the sureness of the harmonies and the clarity of Brightman's piano are in a direct line back to the storefront churches of the old South. In some ways the best point of reference is to the Sounds Of Blackness and maybe their epic 'Journey Of A Drum' album. Key difference, though, is that the Forever Forward album lacks one big, big song… but given the band's mission statement maybe that's the whole point. The album is clearly meant to be listened to from start to finish and not cherry picked via the remote button; that idea of creating a lasting, overall mood and ambience is borne out with the reprise of the opening song 'All Is Well' in the form of a relaxed guitar solo at the end and the repetition of the songs 'Peace Be Still' and 'Running Over'. The song with most immediate appeal, however, is the jaunty 'God Always Says Yes'. It features a strong melody which allows soloist Tisha Hunter to shine while on the more strident 'Experience', Brightman's old school piano betrays his roots too. Gospel fans will find lots here to identify with and enjoy but, maybe more importantly, those less committed will find inspiration too … without the message being too in-your-face.
(BB) 3/5

Monday, 30 November 2009

Bill Buckley

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