“If You Believe” by Rosena Hill Jackson is soothing, exciting and adventurous. The ten-track set begins by gently taking you into an up-tempo Afro-Caribbean soca rhythm “Over the Rainbow” nonet arrangement by Jason Jackson and features Antonio Hart on alto sax. Followed by Sondheim’s “Everybody Says Don’t” as a quintet arrangement by Joseph Joubert, inspired by Hill’s Gospel roots. Then smoothly leading into a piano/ vocal duet of a heartfelt, introspective “Christmas Lullaby” by Jason Robert Brown. “If You Believe” the title track is a funk feel from the mid 70’s. “Sound of Music” arranged by Jason Jackson and again featuring Antonio Hart, but this time on flute, has become a beautiful, bossa nova love song. The classics “Someone to Watch Over Me” / “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” are seamlessly merged in dedication to the memory of her father and present love of her husband, Jason Jackson featured on trombone. “Queen of the World” brings a fast paced, high-energy and percussive call to reclaim your confidence and life’s vision with words and music by Jason Robert Brown. The piano/vocal duet arrangement of the well-known Gospel hymn “ His Eye is on the Sparrow,” is fresh and deeply sincere. Your spirits continue to rise in the uplifting “Heaven” with words by Langston Hughes and music from Ricky Ian Gordon. The If You Believe musical journey ends with a triumphant and angelic “Impossible Dream”.
Excited to round out my week at “The Lion King” on Broadway in NYC. The brass section is in a room far away from the pit. We have monitors and microphones so we can play along with the other musicians. It took a bit of getting used to when I first did this show about 10 years ago. Now it’s old hat.