In this recording, time-honored classics are being presented in a new and very exciting way. I have grown up hearing these songs over and over--the same way--but I've not felt the sense of resignation in life that these songs seem to project to others (i.e., life will be so much better for us after we have died). Sometimes I feel like a motherless child and the Let us break bread together on our knees/Nobody knows de trouble I've seen medley may sound and seem forlorn. To me they indicate what we all experience as living, thinking beings--obstacles we must overcome and lessons we can learn--on our journey of sharing our gifts with one another as well as accepting what others have to offer. To me, Po' mo'ner's got a home at last says that being a complainer and trying to accomplish something really don't work well together. However, if you stop and take time to hear and listen to that still small voice within you, then you can affect a more positive direction and become a meaningful contributor. Thus, to paraphrase the song, you join the band with the angels; thus, truly, nothing can harm you.
The title of this album, How the Spirit moves Me sums up my belief in the first song, Ride on King Jesus. Ride on King Jesus is reprised twice. The first time as a reminder that when we think we've done all we can, remember how Jesus (also a human being) showed that his sincere faith and his unquestioning belief in his ability to be one with the Universal Law (i.e., God) through meaningful meditation enabled him to transcend all obstacles. Night is not a spiritual; however, to me it addresses the idea that our inner spirit, after a period of hills and valleys, must rest. It is a refreshing and peaceful rest because of our connection with the Universal Law and the second reprise of Ride on King Jesus reaffirms man's best example of his connection with it. It is, thus my belief that with meaningful meditation and sincere faith, I, too, become one with the Universal Law and combined with a genuine belief in myself--indeed, no man can impede my determination to achieve any objectives I have or my ultimate goal.
I did not sit down and write out these arrangements by himself. My ideas were brought to life through the collaboration of and a meeting of the minds with my arranger/orchestrator Ophir Shur. Ophir listened and reached an understanding of what I wanted to express and how he could, through what I consider exciting and innovative orchestral arrangements, facilitate those ideas with the songs I have chosen.
The majority of my professional work encompasses "classical" music performances that have taken place on the stages of concert and recital halls in Europe and Canada as well as in the United States. I have been a soloist on recordings of works by composers of that genre, also. How the Spirit moves Me is my first solo project. It is not, per se, an album of "classical" music in the more accepted definition; however, these traditional American songs are classics.
Many people have aided me on this particular journey. I hope you'll allow the Spirit to move you.
With heartfelt thanks and appreciation,
& Â© 1995 JaanSing Productions
James Sterrett-Bryant is a singer of international stature and a familiar name in the Southern California classical music community. He has performed in Spain and Germany. Sterrett-Bryant is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts' School of Music with a BFA Degree in Vocal Performance. Additional honors include awards in U.S. Air Force talent contests, a University of Toronto Opera School Scholarship, two San Francisco Opera Regional Audition Encouragement Awards, and the Marie A. Lovelace Scholarship for Voice.
Nationally, Mr. Sterrett-Bryant has sung with Opera Ebony, the Queensboro College Choir & Orchestra in New York and Yachats Festival-by-the-Sea in Oregon. He made his East Coast recital dÃ©but, in 1989, at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Virginia. Sterrett-Bryant has sung with many local and regional orchestras and choral organizations which include the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, the Cambridge Singers, College of the Canyons Orchestra, UCLA Campus Chorus, the Los Angeles Opera 1994-95 season, and he performed at the 15th Annual and the 25th Anniversary Festival of Very Special Arts. Additionally he has presented programs for underprivileged youth in the Greater Los Angeles Area, through the Da Camera Society's Outreach Program. Local and national civic organizations for which Sterrett-Bryant has performed include the Southern California Motion Picture Council, the Euterpe Opera Club, the Rotary Club of Greater Los Angeles, the YMCA of Greater Los Angeles, the American Legion Auxiliary and the VA Voluntary Service National Advisory Committee.
In 1995 and 1996, Mr. Sterrett-Bryant performed in the Music Center Education Division's Very Special Arts Festival. He made his Canadian recital dÃ©but, June 1996, in New Hamburg, Ontario. He performed at the A Tribute to William Grant Still Conference at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, June 1998. Performed in the 1999 Art & Soul International Festival, presented by Very Special Arts.
In September 2000, he sang at the Open House Celebration for the new offices of the Media Access Office. As a gold medalist, he has performed in the 2001 through 2005 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival shows in Prescott, AZ, Minneapolis, MN, Oklahoma City, OK, Salt Lake City, UT and Denver, CO. Mr. Sterrett-Bryant sang at the City of Lancaster (California) 17th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration, January 2006.
In addition to this CD, James Sterrett-Bryant's other recording credits include the Mass in A Major by CÃ©sar Franck, Mass in D Major, Anton Dvorak and the Robert Winter - The Mozart Lectures Series.
* * * *
1. Ride On King Jesus
2. Deep River
3. This Is De Healin' Water
4. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
5. Po' Mo'ner's Got a Home At Last
6. Reprise I: Ride On King Jesus
7. This Little Light O' Mine
8. Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit
9. Medley: Let Us Break Bread Together On Our Knees/nobody Knows Th
10. Roll Jordan Roll
12. Reprise Ii: Ride On King Jesus