Judith Christie McAllister | Sound the Trumpet

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Album Review: Judith Christie McAllister | Sound the Trumpet
By Peggy Oliver

As
a forerunner in one of the most powerful and influential music
ministries in the last twenty years, Judith Christie McAllister has been
dubbed by many as The First Lady of Praise & Worship. During her
childhood, McAllister was quite familiar with singing all the familiar
hymns. Though she was grateful to be exposed to church service on a
daily basis, the praise and worship environment seemed a bit strict at
times. McAllister was also the product of a classically trained
background as she graduated from The High School of the Performing Arts
in New York City at sixteen years of age. Sometimes McAllister and her
siblings would sneak time late at night to play recordings from gospel
great Andrae Crouch and Earth, Wind & Fire – the groundbreaking
R&B ensemble she admired for their musical excellence in blending
funk, world rhythms and crisp funky arrangements. Those treasured
moments eventually helped shaped her uncompromising beliefs in
demonstrating pure quality music and high integrity in all phases of
worship. McAllister’s first major experience was a featured vocalist
with Richard Roberts’ (Oral Roberts’ son) television program; a moment
that equipped her to join West Angeles COGIC’s ministry team.
Eventually, Blake appointed McAllister to executive director of Music
& Worship Arts department at West Angeles. Their 3-CD series in the
nineties entitled Saints in Praise (Sparrow
Records) illustrated how excellence played a critical role for mass
choir praise and worship in the African American church community.


 
McAllister’s first two solo projects, Send Judah First (2001) and Raise the Praise (2003), were released under her Judah Music imprint. Her third entry from 2006, In His Presence
(Artemis/Light Records), produced several ready made praise busters for
the radio such as “Bless the Lord Oh My Soul” and the remix of “Like
the Dew.” Her latest release Sound the Trumpet
was recorded three years ago yet was finally released in late August.
The title track is already making noise on the Top 40 Gospel Charts
(Ezekiel 33:1-7, i.e.) declaring to believers in putting on the armor of
God and joining His army. The horn section wastes no time exercising a
full EW&F workout. “I Will Sing” (Psalms 89:1) is an anthem that
recalls the seventies and eighties arena rock era. McAllister gives
plenty of room to fellow music ministers throughout Sound the Trumpet;
beginning with T.C. Bereal, Jr. on the Caribbean spiced “Fire!”
(Deuteronomy 4:24, Acts 2:1-3). Then she passes the baton to Michael
Pugh whose elegant tenor voice adds shear beauty to Fanny Crosby’s “Draw
Me Nearer” (Hebrews 10:22). McAllister spins her arrangement of a
twenty-first century popular hymn, “How Great Is Our God” (Psalms 95:3),
sprinkling in a chorus from the 19th century counterpart
“How Great Thou Art.” “Thank You for the Healing” (Malachi 4:2, Psalm
107:1) is a perfect textbook in facing daily storms: “Searching for the
source of your pain in all the wrong places.” Markita Knight delivers a
sensitive co-lead vocal while Delandria Wells’ flute fills the spaces
with that calming presence.
 
Following suit with her previous three projects, McAllister’s remains true to her resilient soprano voice on Sound the Trumpet.
Her voice may not possess all the proficiency or technical skills. Yet
in the long run, it does not fully matter because the honesty behind the
voice exudes a confidence in what she was entrusted to do – leading
Christians into the deepest praise and worship territory zone possible.
 
Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene

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