Review: I Wanna Thank You by Tarra Scotton and Strong Tower
(Zopro Records)

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower," according to the Word of God. The name of a Philadelphia R&B jam band comes from that scripture. Singer Tarra Scotton and backing band Strong Tower (TS&ST) have united to form a strong musical force making sophisticated smooth jazz, bordering on progressive R&B. Their new CD is called I Wanna Thank You from Zopro Records.

"When I first came into contact with these guys, they said they were a gospel group," said music producer Mark Hafer. "But their style reminds me of ‘70s jazz fusion mixed with current R&B/gospel and a strong jam feel."

Indeed, the group’s talented musicians (who are mostly high school students) have their act together on I Wanna Thank You. Unlike most of today’s R&B groups, who rely on computerized synthesizers, TS&ST has an ol’ school vibe going on, when musicians and singers weren’t afraid to improvise and let loose once in a while, giving I Wanna Thank You a live, organic feel.

There’s a comforting sweetness to the way Jesus is praised with gentle, layered voices on Jesus So Dear, a smooth jazz lullaby. The classic soul beat of Dorothy Moore’s Misty Blue is evoked on You Belong To Me, allowing Scotton to sing with understated conviction.

While TS&ST’s stated mission is to reach youth with their music, the smooth jazz vibe style used on most of the album is probably more appealing to those in their 30s and 40s. Scotton is making progressive R&B-gospel-soul for adults who appreciate the combination of both great artistry and ministry.

If you’re interested in getting a copy of I Wanna Thank You, go to www.zopro.com or e-mail Zopro@millenianet.com.