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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

This Is What I Hear

  • reviewed by LaTonya Taylor Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Jan
This Is What I Hear
Sounds like … primarily instrumental, radio-ready smooth jazz guitar for fans of George Benson, Jonathan Butler and Jonathan Dubose. At a glance … Bowman's nimble technique and a solid group of musicians give his guitar-driven smooth jazz freshness and interestTrack ListingSummer GrooveDanceMiracleCandy's GrooveAngels (Interlude)AngelsAcoustic RainNew DayThis Song's for YouTable for Two225My PraiseMy Praise (Reprise)Angels (Reprise)

Tim Bowman is carving a niche for himself in the growing genre of instrumental gospel-flavored jazz, combining his classical guitar training with his gospel roots in This Is What I Hear, his fourth album of guitar-driven smooth jazz.

The album opens with "Summer Groove," which is upbeat and cool in a way reminiscent of relief from a hot summer day. Nelson Rangel joins Bowman on sax, and son Tim Bowman II offers a light occasional scat. "Dance" features Mo'Horns in brassy interplay with Bowman's nimble fingers over Terrance Palmer's slightly brooding bass. "Miracle" has a sense of lingering wonder, accented by Dana Davis on keys, and "Candy's Groove," contributed by Bowman's daughter, is heated and funky.

"Angels" features Kayla Parker's cool, slightly smoky vocals in a song with lyrics that feel like an updated version of Andrae Crouch's "Got Me Some Angels." "Acoustic Rain" has a feeling of peace and cleansing recognizable even without the title, and "New Day" picks things up with fresh energy and a hint of sass. Marvin Winans offers weathered, assured lead vocals on "This Song's for You." "Table for Two" is easy and romantic, while "225" features electric piano and organ-and a light, urban cool. Rance Allen and Bowman's sister Vickie Winans are a pleasurable listen on "My Praise."

Like much smooth jazz, This Is What I Hear would make great background music for a dinner party or road trip. But Bowman's smooth-not-sleepy technique and the variety of sounds on the album make it worth a closer, more attentive listen for jazz lovers and guitar enthusiasts alike.