Nov 8, 2012

[REVIEW] Kevin Louis' - Music Is My Religion


When I was first passed along a copy of this album, I wasn't sure what I was in for.  With the title of "Music is my Religion" and the intro which had Louis adamantly insisting that his religious preference was music rather than what we typically have come to view as religious doctrines or ideology, I was kind of afraid that it would turn out to be an atheistic situation that was mocking and ridiculing a faith that, while I haven't been as close to in recent years, and have had some serious questions about, is still one that I have spent my entire life under the umbrella of: Christianity.

And I'm not one of THOSE people who are constantly rambling about the supposed discrimination felt by those of the Christian persuasion, so don't get me wrong there.  But I admit to a little trepidation when I started listening.  However, as the album played on, I relaxed a bit and enjoyed what is, essentially, a love letter to one's faith.

Interspersed between the songs were interludes featuring various people talking about what religion and/or faith means to them, and it was a very cool addition to this album.   Usually skits are throway filler designed to mask the amount of actual music on an album.  Particularly in hip hop you used to get albums that read "26 tracks" and then you get home and realize about half that are little minute or so interludes that had them joking or spouting ignorance.

This is not that.

                                                        MORE AFTER THE BREAK

I've always felt uncomfortable reviewing Jazz music, because I think more so than a lot of music, it's all subjective I feel.   I mean Jazz has always been an improvisational and really personal experience, at least in my eyes.  And kind of like snowflakes, you would often have Jazz music that would provide each person with a different takeaway.

One person will listen and hear and feel nothing, and someone else can listen that exact same piece of music and feel like they are being spoken to.   It's kind of like an interactive game where the path that you take and where you end up depends on your decisions, and then you try to explain to someone what happens, but then they play it and end up with a completely different experience.

To a degree, anything someone reviews is subjective.  Not everyone sees things the way you do, but I think, and this is just my opinion, Jazz seems to be a completely different animal where that is concerned.

Having said all that, allow me to explain my thoughts on this and give you my reaction to listening.

This was a very emotional listening experience to me.   As regular readers to my blog are aware of, I've had a pretty intense struggle with my faith over the past several years.  A crisis of faith, if you will.  I find myself questioning everything I've been raised to believe, due in large part to the sheer amount of people who also claim to subscribe to my faith doing and saying things that I am morally and fundamentally opposed to, all in the name of Christianity.

I find myself struggling to figure out where I fit in with this faith that I have followed my entire life without really questioning.    And I've found that many of the things I've thought about, were brilliantly posed in Trumpeter Kevin Louis' new album "Music is My Religion".  The interludes which had various people speaking on what God meant to them, and what faith meant to them were nice little additions to this project, and really elevated it to a special place.  For me, anyway.

The music itself was very relaxing and tranquil.   I can imagine people just chilling out on a Sunday afternoon after you get back from whatever Church you happen to go to.  Just laying on the couch, fingers interlocked behind your head, eyes closed and just taking in the beautiful music that Louis has created.

Listening to this was a very special experience for me, namely because of how personal it felt.   Others may not have the same intense reaction as I did upon hearing it the first time, due to wherever they may be in their lives, but I don't think you have to be going through a crisis of faith, as I have been, to really enjoy this.

Perhaps it helps a little though, to really feel a personal connection.  To sit back and think "This person was speaking to me with this music."   Can't say I've ever really felt that with anything before.

I highly recommend this and I think that if you give it a chance and bring it into your life, you may be able to perhaps hear a little bit of what I did.

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