- 01 As We Gather
- 02 Lord You Are So Good
- 03 Come and Take Your Place
- 04 Let Your Living Water Flow
- 05 Sanctuary
- 06 What a Mighty God
- 07 His Eye Is On the Sparrow
- 08 Talo Dabi Ire Jesu
- 09 As the Deer
“He Watches Over Me” (CD)
When Canada-based saxophonist Asaph reaches for the ears of a higher power, it isn’t the ghost of Miles Davis. The title of Asaph’s new album, “He Watches Over Me,” hides no secrets. Asaph is combining the velvety softness of smooth jazz with the spiritual depth of Gospel, which is quite uncommon in instrumental music. After all, much of Gospel’s punch originates in its Biblical messages and how they are conveyed through soulful vocalizing. How can a saxophone express the Word of God?
Proving that music is indeed a universal language, Asaph has produced a Gospel album mostly devoid of lyrics except for a brief moment in “Sanctuary” and all of “His Eye is On the Sparrow,” wherein singer Erin Craig contributes transcendent crooning. Nevertheless, Asaph’s deep-seated affection for God is vividly felt through the angelic grace and emotionally stirring vibe of his playing. On “As We Gather,” which actually includes two other tracks, Asaph’s saxophone has the translucent flow of a waterfall.
What’s even more impressive about the record is Asaph’s versatility. Mixing Gospel with instrumental jazz while having each of their respective characteristics clearly displayed is stunning enough. But Asaph probes even further, incorporating funk, blues, and even reggae influences, placing them in a spiritual context. For example, on “Lord You Are So Good,” Asaph adapts ‘70s funk into a Gospel setting; it’s praise and worship music with a street beat. “Let Your Living Water Flow” and “What a Mighty God” are uplifted by a reggae breeze while “Come and Take Your Place” has a sizzling blues vibe.
Too much of what constitutes Christian music these days is imaginative, and the same can be said for smooth jazz as well. On “He Watches Over Me,” Asaph has managed unify the best of both worlds while yearning for a better world in the Kingdom of Heaven.