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Angella Christie: Hymn & I

Cast in the unusual role of contemporary Christian saxophonist is Angella Christie, an alto specialist whose emotionally-charged play is spotlighted on Hymn & I (Air Gospel AIR 10242; 65:04). A half-studio, half-live collection, Hymn paints traditional tunes with bright new colors. Christie’s tone is warm and musing on studio tracks like “Love Lifted Me” and “The Solid Rock,” but her strong leads are somewhat downplayed by the constraints of the adult contemporary-styled arrangements. The gloves are off for the live set, however, and Christie raises the roof-stepping out with an authoritative, joyful swagger over a pulsing rhythm section on “Blessed Assurance,” and bursting open over an electrifying choir on “Great Is Thy Faithfullness.” Christie introduces her live set with a meaty solo that rolls and revels, and sets the tone for her rollicking testimonials of uplifting improvisation. Her live performance is a blistering, straight-from-the-heart effort, sure to inspire listeners of any religion.

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