Bryant Barnett
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Bryant Barnett

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Newcomer Bryant Barnett jumps into the gospel arena with a bold independent debut, "I'm New", which touches on a luscious mix of several styles of jazz and smooth R&B arrangements. Most would call an attempt that dwells around the outer edges of conventional gospel grooves disastrous, but Barnett, with his effortless and impressive soulful vocals, delivers a neat package of easy-listening tunes. And with live instrumentation dominating this studio affair, it seems as if most of the musical arrangements have a passionate drive of soul and charisma bound to catch the ear of serious music aficionados.

With nine full-length tracks and a few interludes and intermission moments, "I'm New" is styled in the fashion of modern-day contemporary jazz with a redeeming laid-back posture. Strong ballads are apparent here, like Barnett's neo-soulish "Oh Jesus", which reveals the album's intention to deliver heartfelt, passionate expressions within its strong guitar deliveries and milky background vocals. "No One Can Compare", another smooth slow burner, features moving lyrics, light piano brushes from LaDerrick Perry, Jr. and a vamp showcasing the powerful background vocals of Candace Clay and Hezekiah Walker/LFC lead vocalist Heather Convington. On Daniel Noelsaint's "Deliverance", the song is an innocent plea showcasing heartfelt cries for God's help and mercy. From beginning to end, the song has such a peaceful vibe to it, almost as if it was tailor-made to fit into the bright sounds of mellow holiday music. Bryant also does the unthinkable by recreating Walter Hawkins signature composition, "Changed". While the song has been revisited and reworked several times by several artists since the 1978 original version, the flow and integrity of the original are captured in Bryant's performance while the band provides delicious, silky instrumentation to the arrangement.

He eloquently reveals his songwriting and arranging abilities throughout most of the album, like on the groovy traditional jazz piece, "Jesus Is Coming". The intense bass work from A. Shaun Robertson with the mesmeric piano renderings from co-writer Phil C. Lewis creates a magical formula with Barnett's solo and background duties. While the music is pretty busy in places and features some dazzling chord attention-getters, they never overshadow Barnett's musical labor. Usually that is the case with cuts like this, but the track succeeds with its appealing creative spunk. And there's more Influences of jazz that are greatly visible here. "Trust In Him" is a breezy revisit to the cool acapella work of Take 6 with its lovable artistic harmonies provided by In-A-Way and hip finger-snapping action. But there are some moments where too much can be too much. For instance, "Bless Him", in which opens the album, captures the heart of a fast-paced jazz shuffle. It has a praise-and-worship feel within the lyrics and melody, but the busy and dominant musical arrangements may feel a bit irritating - especially for an album opener. While the music features tantalizing effects to the ear, it is way too fat with heavy doses of rhythm and live horns.

There are a few minor problems that rest on "I'm New" that may get in the way of the beauty of this musical effort. The album cover and fonts, including the linear notes, lack the professional touches that are needed to impress the eye. There are even some mixing and remastering problems in the midst found on the first pressing. Most of the cuts fill as if it missed the mark of audio compression and was placed at a lesser bit rate than most high-quality compact discs. It may also come as a surprise, but most of the album leans on jazzy interpretations and assiduous music arrangements that there's not enough friendly radio singles found here. Other than those issues, the album stacks some serious heat and dives into the heart of originality and creativity. The potency of Bryant Barnett's musicanship is quite impressive and will favor well with fans of Marvin Sapp and Jason Nelson. In an era where popuarized worship music and conventional urban hip-hop have drained the process of originality from most artists, it seems as if Barnett is on the right road and refuses to copy the patterns of the norm. Maybe the project's title is the right message Bryant needs to send out. - prayzehymnonline


“I’m New” (2006)
Singles: Oh Jesus, Changed, Bless Him



Bryant Barnett is a “Church Boy” born in Livingston, New Jersey and raised in South Orange, New Jersey. As a child growing up, Bryant was drawn to music. He would always be heard singing around the house and seen sitting with his ear to the speaker of his parent’s old 8-track and record player stereo. His mother who in the late 70’s headed a group called “Charity” first introduced Bryant to singing. He first started singing in his family’s home Bible studies then in the church and school choirs.

Bryant attended Columbia High School and graduated class of 1996. During his senior year he became one of the founders of the Columbia High School Gospel Choir, along side the Fugee’s member Lauryn Hill. The choir is still very active.

His performance grabs the hearts of many as he sings with such compassion; such conviction; but most of all, a great anointing.

This versatile vocalist has performed with such notable greats as Lorraine Stancil, Nancey Jackson, Shirley Caesar, Vicki Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Tremaine Hawkins, In-A-Way and most recently; Tye Tribbett & Greater Anointed.
In April of 2003, he was voted the first New Jersey Nets’, New Jersey Idol; a competition sponsored by the New Jersey Net’s and held at the Meadowlands Arena full of spectators.