Choir leader Chris Jones and his Word of Praise Choir have been big around Detroit since their 2001 local smash "Exalt the King" and their successful follow-up hit, "Like a Rock," but they haven't received the national attention that their substantial talents have warranted...until now.
In early 2006, WOP released Dance, the group's sophomore album on Tyscot Records, and this should be the disc that puts them over the top and introduces Jones to the growing modern Gospel and Soul audiences who have embraced Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond and Kurt Carr. On Dance, Jones follows the general mold set by these Gospel giants and proves himself to be in their league.
The material on Dance -- partially written by Jones and partly contributed by other top notch Gospel writers -- is simply superb, and provides a fine foundation for the disc. And Jones' soulful baritone, reminiscent of Hammond, sounds great throughout, as does the seven person Word of Praise. The disc opens with the irresistible, Ernest Lee-penned title cut, and continues through a string of solid tracks, including the infectious dance numbers "Praise Him" and "Zion" and the ballads "We Life Your Name" and "I Give You Everything." The album loses a little bit of steam toward the end, but not until Jones proves that he and Word of Praise belong among the modern Gospel elite. Dance is thoroughly enjoyable, and one of the most pleasant surprises of early 2006. For lovers of joyous, upbeat spiritual music, this is a must have.
Sadly, Chris Jones passed away on October 8, 2006.
By Chris Rizik