Dexter Walker & Zion Movement - Greater Than Before

Dexter Walker & Zion Movement
Dexter Walker & Zion Movement â?? Greater Than Before.jpg
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A decade ago, a young minister started a choir in his grandparents’ basement in Chicago, Illinois, backed by plenty of prayer, faith and fasting. In two short years of ministry, Dexter Walker & Zion Movement’s spiritual devotion and exceptional anointing led to a live concert recording - in front of over 2,000 people at that. Walker & ZM continued praying and packing much patience as two more years passed before the fruits of their labor produced the 2007 debut, Move. In 2011, their fervent mission was spreading love on behalf of the choir community, as the title of their sophomore release, Move II: Bring Back the Choir, fully implied. From a basement to the national choir competition, How Sweet the Sound, the 80-voice ensemble furthers the Windy City’s rich gospel choir tradition that includes Chicago Mass Choir and O’landa Draper & the Associates.

A decade ago, a young minister started a choir in his grandparents’ basement in Chicago, Illinois, backed by plenty of prayer, faith and fasting. In two short years of ministry, Dexter Walker & Zion Movement’s spiritual devotion and exceptional anointing led to a live concert recording - in front of over 2,000 people at that. Walker & ZM continued praying and packing much patience as two more years passed before the fruits of their labor produced the 2007 debut, Move. In 2011, their fervent mission was spreading love on behalf of the choir community, as the title of their sophomore release, Move II: Bring Back the Choir, fully implied. From a basement to the national choir competition, How Sweet the Sound, the 80-voice ensemble furthers the Windy City’s rich gospel choir tradition that includes Chicago Mass Choir and O’landa Draper & the Associates.

Walker & ZM’s blazing and reconstructed rendition of “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” was one of How Sweet the Sound’s definitive highlights, leading to a first place finish that resulted in a record contract with E-One Music. Walker & ZM’s debut E-One release, Greater Than Before, demonstrates a broad range; radiating inspiration a la Sounds of Blackness, basking in Tye Tribett & G.A.-esque theatrics, and naturally reflecting a solid affection for Chicago gospel choirs.

Though Greater Than Before is practically a re-issue of Move II, new fans of Walker & ZM and followers of How Sweet the Sound will be impressed on several levels by the choir’s versatility and unpredictability. Despite a slightly sluggish start on “Your Latter Will Be Greater,” this opening tracks gains steam with a funky groove accented by several quirky, yet dynamic instrumental breaks. “Undefeated” breaks out more funk with talk boxes, synthesizers and a touch of Funkadelic and Lakeside. The infectious “No Rock” sprinkles some hand jive seasoning. Basking in the spirit of Africa, a lively hand drum line decorates “Let Us Sing,” a more accessible melody for church congregations

There are occasional inconsistencies that bog down Greater Than Before, such as “Spread the Word” that begins in promising fashion, including the riveting praise hook of “read all about it,” before succumbing to a lack of pace and passion. “Wait” also un-inspires, where almost everything drags until the final two minutes.  

Where Walker & ZM’s gifts really kicks in are their laser sharp vocal precision propelling the a cappella, “Deliver Daniel” and “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” that bridges swing, Broadway, hip-hop and blues. These latter two tracks on Greater Than Before are the bread and butter of this very captivating choir, whose minister’s vision and overall faithfulness have purposed them for greater gospel music opportunities. 

Vocals:  3.5 stars
Music:  3.0 stars
Lyrics:  3.0 stars
Production:  3.0 stars
SoulTracks Call:  Recommended

By Peggy Oliver 

 
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