A Point Of View
POINT BLANK is Henry Countee, drums, background vocals; Steve Pratt, guitars; Jerry Blake, reeds, background vocals; Dorden Bivings, keyboards and lead vocals; Winston Ferguson, bass; Gerald Chavis, trumpet/flugelhorn, background vocals; Raleigh Lewis, percussion; Paul Lee, keyboards.
A Point of View is produced by Point Blank. All compositions are published by Man With The Horn Music (ASCAP). We are eternally thankful for the support, energy, and talent of some very special people. First, we want to thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for everything. We also owe a Special Thanks to:
Our families for your love and support
Arthur ''Ott" Johnson for the extra percussion work.
Evette Thomas for lending your voice and great concepts to this project.
Cheyney University Facilities Department for your continued support.
Brandi Chavis of QB Entertainment for all your creative input and resources
Paul Janocha of Ken Del Studios, Newport, Delaware for having great ears, technique and patience.
Earle Brown of Eyes of Distinction for great photography work
And Our Fans – you’re wonderful!
1. “Along the Journey” 5:20 composed by Paul Lee
“Along The Journey is my musical travel of time performing with musicians and groups from the past to the present. It's an adventure of learning.” Paul
2. “In the Name of Love” 4:41 composed by Henry Countee, Dorden Bivings, and Gerald Chavis. Background vocals: Dorden Bivings, Henry Countee, Evette Thomas, Jerry Blake, Gerald Chavis
“This is a song composed to musically express unconditional love, which is a commandment from God.” Hank
3. “The Best of Me” 5:13 composed by Henry Countee and Evette Thomas. Background vocals: Dorden Bivings, Henry Countee, Evette Thomas
“Ephesians 3:20 teaches us, ‘He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above what you can ask or think according to the power that dwells within us,’ which I might add brings out the best in me.” Hank
4. “A Point of View” 5:51 composed by Paul Lee
“It's a profound perception of one's understanding and interpretation of everyday living in society. This song came in a flash.” Paul
5. “Selah” 5:14 composed by Henry Countee. Background vocals: Evette Thomas
“This song pretty much is a scripture, Phillipians 4:8. The music came to me as I meditated on holy thoughts… good things. Selah, take a moment to think on these things. When I introduced it to the band the seasoning was added by grace.” Hank
6. “Only Thing” 5:12 composed by Brandi Chavis and Gerald Chavis. Lead Vocals: Dorden Bivings; Background vocals: Dorden Bivings, Henry Countee, Jerry Blake, Gerald Chavis
“‘Only Thing’ was inspired by the understanding that the only constant is change, freeing us to live in the energy of every moment. If we allow the Holy Spirit to lead, life becomes full of beautiful experiences and our eyes open to the Promised Land, internal happiness and the peace of God.” Brandi
7. “Aneeka” 5:02 composed by Henry Countee
“Dedicated to the memory of George Joseph Bungy, a great musician and dearly missed friend.” Hank
8. “My Thoughts of You” 5:59 composed by Paul Lee
“This reflects the time of special moments with a loved one from the past or the present. All love and relations are special which we remember from time to time. Have you forgotten?” Paul
9. “Set You Free” 5:46 composed by Dorden Bivings
“My inspiration for this tune stems from my love of world music. The combination of the silky Spanish guitar and driving percussion give the tune a Latin flavor and gives me the uplifting feeling of a spiritual freedom - thus the title "Set You Free.” Dorden
Recorded 2009 by Point Blank at Ken-Del Studios, Newport, Delaware. Paul Janocha, engineer. Mastered at Masterworks, Philadelphia, PA. Cover Photo: Earle Brown for Eyes of Distinction. Cover Design: Brandi Chavis for QB Entertainment.
POINT BLANK, A Point of View
Whoever said that the gospel infused urban jazz ensemble Point Blank is “the freshest, most musically exciting band to emerge from Philadelphia in years” might have been understating things just a bit. Why stop there? They’ve opened for legends like George Duke and Jeff Lorber and recently played a bunch of regional festivals, but their soaring melodies, explosive R&B and world beat grooves and towering spirituality is just too big to be limited to the realm of “regional sensation.” Aside from a stirring batch of impeccably performed compositions that push the boundaries of “smooth jazz” to incorporate true jazz improvisations and a strong global consciousness, two things stand out on Point Blank’s striking nine track collection A Point of View: a refreshing spiritual approach grounded in faith “In The Name of Love”; and the rich group dynamic where every member participates as a composer with a unique “point of view” and is featured on their lead instruments in all the right places.
The set kicks off with “Along The Journey,” a musical time traveling adventure which begins with Dorden Bivings’ keyboard atmospheres and exotic, stylish synth vibraphone and evolves into a high energy groove highlighted by Gerald Chavis’ soaring flugelhorn. While grounded in their faith walk, “In The Name of Love” is a cool, mid-tempo declaration of the heart that spotlights two of the group’s emotional centerpieces: Dorden’s powerful vocals and Jerry Blake’s urgent, heart tugging sax. Rolling along with the natural sound of ocean waves and a quote from Ephesians for inspiration, Point Blank brings out “The Best In Me,” an easygoing, laid back (then slightly more grooving) meditation that will keep horn fans happy; the lead melody switches off from Gerald’s dreamy flugelhorn to Jerry’s lilting soprano, creating a magical tandem effect. While the rhythm kicks up a notch, the same hard hitting horn duality and switch off (this time from flugelhorn to alto sax) is at the core of the hypnotic and thoughtful title track.
The biblical foundation of the next track, the supremely meditational, dreamy atmospheres and flute driven “Selah,” is a term used in the Psalms that roughly translates to “Stop and listen,” or “Let those with eyes see and with ears hear.” The way the song opens into percussive world grooves and deep touches of exotic ensures it lives up to its title concept. Secular listeners will appreciate Dorden’s wondrously romantic lead vocals on the soulful ballad “Only Thing,” but those with spiritual ears will be in tune with the deeper meaning of living in every moment more intensely via the Holy Spirit. Composed by drummer and backing vocalist Henry Countee, “Aneeka” is a tribute to a dear friend featuring soaring, high energy jangling electric guitar by Steve Pratt as the harmonic underpinning for Gerald’s soaring and transcendent flugelhorn.
After the cool, low key and reflective “My Thoughts Of You” (highlighted by Gerald’s smoky trumpet and colorful sound effects), A Point of View wraps with the infectious world music embrace of an exotic, flamenco guitar and Latin brass driven track that can truly “Set You Free”; this track showcases Steve Pratt’s acoustic guitar and Gerald and Jerry’s horn interaction at their creative and whimsical peak.
Point Blank may be a sensation just in the Philly region now, but from my point of view, they’re going to become a national and even world urban jazz sensation as soon as radio programmers and festival bookers take a “Selah” moment, get into the groove and realize what’s good for them, their listeners and fans seeking more than the same old thing!
Jonathan Widran, columnist, Jazziz
Jazz Editor, Wine and Jazz Magazine