One of the first things to keep in mind when you’re listening to Charles Moorer & The Faithful Few and their debut album Divine Direction is their disclaimer that they’re “not a group of entertainers, but a ministry full of love for God and concerned about doing His will by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through music.” The message, delivered by the powerhouse, soulful vocals of Chuck and his other singers, is the focus – but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t some of the liveliest, funkiest gospel, coolest jazz and greatest songwriting you’ve ever heard from an independent group. The groove is anchored by Chuck himself on bass. The set kicks off a question: “Are You Ready?” The song has a deep grooving jazzy gospel vibe, with soulful female vocals, trumpet and sax harmonies, some rockin’ electric guitar edges and Chuck’s supremely soulful lead vocals.
The title track “Divine Direction” points us to God via an easy flowing vocal urban jazz groove, with a smooth and silky sax taking the emotional harmony role behind Chuck’s silky lead vocals. While that song is about finding our way, the next two tracks are instrumental and vocal versions of a gospel/soul-jazz/laid back funk tune urging us to “Make A Change”. While the vocal version features Charles on regular bass, he plays the fretless on the instrumental version which shows his deep Marcus Miller influences on his instrument. The next two tracks are two versions of the hands in the air old school jazz gospel jam “We Praise You”, with the second being a remix featuring a spirited rap vocal over soaring female vocals and Chuck’s lead voice. It’s a tune about how God can change us. It affirms, in wildly musical terms, “When Praises Go Up, blessings come down!” The fifth track “Why Should I Fear” starts with a bang, a dramatic rock jazz intro with sax and electric guitar, which eases into an uplifting, slow simmering sax-enhanced vocal ballad. It’s gospel-jazz at its finest.
“One thing that anyone who knows the story behind Charles Moorer & The Faithful Few must acknowledge is that their hearts are in the right place. Yet it’s their musical soul that’s bound to get people excited as they groove and tap along and hear the life changing Gospel conveyed through Pastor Chuck’s instantly infectious urban jazz influenced gospel tunes. The group’s sound brings to mind the great Grammy winning gospel-jazz work of Kirk Whalum, and will inspire jazz, R&B and gospel fans alike. Dynamically produced with exciting instrumentation, explosive vocal textures and driven by the vision and the heart-tugging vocals of Chuck himself, Divine Direction provides a roadmap to great music that feeds (and – who knows? – maybe even saves) your soul!” – Jonathan Widran