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felton offard

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The best kept secret in music



This is Anointed Smooth Gospel Jazz at its best. Take some clean guitar playing,add some great lyrics, and then mix it with heartfelt vocals, place them on a CD and you'll have my favorite disc. This CD is awesome. Once I heard Won't Stop Worshipping, I knew I would Rise and buy this disc."
- John L Terry

"This CD is FIRE."
- Joi Mitchell, R.U.N.? Entertainment, Inc.

"Your boy is ridiculous..."
- Gary Taylor, Singer/Songwriter (Anita Baker, Lalah Hathaway, The Whispers)

"Felton is the bomb of bombs. I have been listening to this CD for the past three days. This is a great CD."
- Rhoda Lawrence, VP Marketing, UMVD

"After I played I'm Yours, everyone rushed over to find out who it was. They loved the song. Great steppers song." - DJ Denn, NightLife Record Pool

"Felton Offard is an incredibly gifted musician, and Rise is a wonderful project, one birthed in the tradition of music that speaks to and feeds the soul. In the title track, the symphonic resonance is simply heavenly, and the accompanying soul-stirring lyrics gracefully laced with the unforgettable unmistakeable handiwork of a well-seasoned guitarist. His is a fresh uplifting sound that blends jazz, gospel, R&B, soul and even classical musical styles. This album is four cups musical sensation and four cups inspiration simply baked to perfection. It will move you and make you want to move.”
- J Wesley Fountain, Medill Shool of Journalism, Northwestern University

This is a brilliant CD. It is sequenced perfectly and gives you a chance to enjoy yourself on a musical level and a spiritual level as it moves from smooth jazz to songs of worship. This CD is a blessing to all who listen to it. I love this CD especially the track Won't Stop Worshipping."
- Michael McAlister, WGBX-AM

Rise does a phenomenal job of nailing the gospel and Christian segment as well as the smooth jazz segment. This CD stands on its own with no apologies. A lot of CDs leave you wanting more - like you are just having an appetizer. This CD is like a full course meal - you leave knowing you have just been fed.
- Mark Wright, Manager, Accugroove

Current gospel speaking across the generations...
The uplifting of the soul is not limited to convention or tradition. With his personal blend of deep-rooted gospel and a mastery of contemporary jazz and blues influence, Offard has stuck a chord/cord with the twenty-something audience and their 80 something and 90 something grandparents. The CD is current gospel that is soothing to the soul and offers the listener a sense of peace with reverent and easy listening harmony. Job well done!
- Marquita Hobson

This is a HIT!!!.
- Jim Raggs WSRB-FM 106.3

The CD is TIGHT!!!
- Oran Smith, Music Depot Houston TX

People are going to think that I am crazy - shouting in this car. This man is truly anointed. I play this CD all day in my office. He has a blessed ministry that will blossom. I love this CD, especially the song More Like Jesus. - Atty. Avalon Betts-Gaston (via cell phone)

BLESSED by GOD Himself!!!!!!! Simply the BEST Gospel Jazz CD I have heard!!! Praise God!!! - DJ Toney Tone (BKS) of WGMG (Internet Radio Station)

- Okay, I have to tell you that I am absolutely blown away. I'm only on the third track and am positively stunned at how good this is. Persuaded took me out right off the bat. I was gonna wait until I finished listening to the whole thing, but I can't believe this hit me like it did. Very few CD's get me on first listen. Felton is the real deal. - Cecile Thalley, Manager - Borders

I saw you in Ndigo magazine while waiting for my order at Harold's...found your website, listened to the mp3's...your music is very inspiring... I'm a guitar player myself so I wanted to make sure to support you..keep on praising the Lord!
- Jerry Jackson

Previewed your CD on CDbaby, just what I'm looking for. I'm putting together a NEW MUSIC festival for our Texas Juneteenth celebration, and I want to feature new music from independent artists, in genres not often heard in the Austin market known as the "live Music Capitol of the World" Give me a shout if you're interested. I will definately be back in contact with you.
- "JJ" Jam'n-J Productions

Your CD has inspired me in many different ways. I'm persuaded and dedicated to support you all the way. I've been playing the guitar for about 10 years and your is the best I've heard. I'm only thirteen and I would like to meet you someday. Also, your guitar is fantastic.
- Michael Tyner

Thanks for coming to Lakeview Christian Center...No. 6 is awesome, well, actually all your songs are wonderful....but Can't Stop, Won't Stop, resonates in my heart and soul. God has blessed you and you are blessing us. Indy loves you....and again, thanks for a great service on Sunday.
- Marty Lindgren

Praise the good Lord Felton! It was an extreme pleasure working with you this past weekend! We enjoyed having you at Lakeview Christian Center in Indpls, IN! It was a blast working with you and Chris praising God from the Rise CD! Thanks for blessing our people! Keep up the great work and we hope to see you two back soon! God Bless, your new friend Brian Barbour.
- Brian "B2" Barbour

Hey Felton, just recently learned of your great accomplishments... Excellent work! You stuck with your dream and became very successfull at it. I'd just like to say congratulations! You have a beautiful family. your sons look just like the young Felton that I remembered! Wishing you the best and continued success!
- Maurice Pruitt

Felton: I received the CD Rise today. It is absolutely fantastic and your Guitar work is nothing less than awesome. I have been playing it all day. You are truly a very gifted individual, and you were so very wise by realizing early on, that it all comes from God. As a result, I am sure that he will continue to take you even higher (RISE) take care my friend, and you will always have my continued support in all of your endeavors.
-Little James Bluett

I listen to Felton Offard's CD and I really enjoy it! I was also happy to hear some of the tracks played on the radio before I even knew it was him! I really love Jazz, and it's even better when it's having you to sit back, relax, and think about God. I am going to refer this CD to my family and friends.
- Sandra G.D.

What's up "Gene"? I finally got my copy of "Rise" from E.J. at church this past Sunday. Sweeeeeet! My wife and I were groovin' to it all the way from Naperville to Skokie and back. You've been blessed and your talent is blessing others.
- Marc Cartwright

I am a good friend and colleague of John Fountain and I really enjoyed listening to your music. Keep up the good inspiration. God needs more men to stand with him like you and John.
- Hamil Harris

Your project is tight and inspirational. I love guitar music as a personal preference. Check out my guitar praise band, hope you like what you hear.www.sacredstrings.com
- Del Grace

You are too cool! I still have a Felton Offard originally recorded cassette! Thanks Thanks a million. Do you go out to churches and minister any? Let me know. You made my day. Pastor Ron
- Ron Bontrager

Hey Professor! Love u to pieces! Congrats on yet another wonderful CD! Guess what? Im finally gettin the baby I wanted! Email me and keep in touch! God Bless!
- Tanya Miller

You were my music professor years ago at CSU. You know Dwight, one of your guitar students this semester. Well he is the piano player for our choir at Living Hope Community church. Small world! I'm glad to see that the Lord is still blessing you and your family. Congratulations on your latest CD! God bless
- Janene Scarver

I saw you in Ndigo magazine while waiting for my order at Harold's...found your website, listened to the mp3's...your music is very inspiring...bought the CD from CD Baby. I'm a guitar player myself so I wanted to make sure to support you..keep on praising the Lord!
- Derrick (Buck) Buckingham

Man "Won't Stop Worshipping" is annointed. Powerful! All of the excerpt are excellent. Top Notch CD.
- Keith

God bless you for this beautiful cd. I would definitely love to be on your street team to get the Word out about your cd. Thank you again for this message. Rise is off the hook.
- Harold T. Swift

I picked up a copy of your CD and I love everything on it. From one guitar player to another " brother your hands are anointed". If you every need a bass player call me. God Bless you, as you bless others.
- Robert Simmons

...The CD is so inspiring and thank you for the guitar tips from last class. - Dwight Perry

I just love your "Rise" CD. It is my dream gospel music with a hint of cool jazz! I have 2, one in the house and one in the car! Thank you so much for writing the theme song, "My Body is a Temple" for Temple Under Construction Ministries! God is truly getting the glory through your music. May God continue to richly bless you and your family in your every effort! - Marcia Cody

What a great praise & worship CD!! Thanks for letting the Lord use you. - Lauresa ( Kecia) Taylor

"A professional Talent" The gospel industry is very fortunate to have a talented young man who stays true to gospel music. Your gift is truly a gift from God. As with our group, your roots are within the COGIC. Bishop Patterson and the COGIC should be one of your biggest supporters. Keep up the good work. Your musical career is just beginning.
- Frank/The Spiritual Six of Macon, Ga.

I really enjoy listening to this album! This album is simply exceptional! The musical arrangements along with the living word was an awesome blend. I would encourage everyone to get a copy of this cd because I haven't ever heard anything this soulful and spritual at the same time!
- Jonathan
- FeltonOffard.com


It is no secret, that many Chicagoans enjoy both Gospel and Jazz traditions which are rooted here. Chicago's Felton Offard's new Waldon Records CD "Rise" puts him among a new elite group of Jazz Gospel artists which include Kirk Whalum, Jeff Majors and Ben Tankard. While the others master brass and keyboards (Tankard), Felton brings out the Guitar in his brilliant offering. Talented vocalists are also onboard with songs like "What Is This", a favorite of Hawkins fans.
"Rise" is a must have project.


As a child growing up in Freeport, IL., Felton Offard always had a love for music.
"I started out beating on stuff," he said. "My first band was on the play yard in the projects. Three or four of us would beat on the sliding boards and make up songs."
Offard then began taking organ lessons and later learned the guitar, his current instrument. He also sang in the church choir.
"I really wanted to play bass guitar, but we couldn't afford one," he said. "My younger brother had a guitar, so I would play that."
Offard has recently started distributing "Rise," his self-produced inspirational jazz CD. He wrote all the album's songs except, "What Is This," his childhood favorite gospel song by The Hawkins Family.
"It just comes from my heart," he said. "Most of the songs just really came out of times of prayer and mediation. I know it is not what is usually done, but I recognize that whatever gifts I have come from God. I wanted to do what I could to give my talents and abilities back to Him."
The title song, Rise, features singer Christopher Neal Jackson and is about people persevering, said Offard.
"Never give up on your God given dreams and aspirations," he said. "Accomplish your God given dream or die trying."
Offard has worked with such artists as Barry Manilow and The Fifth Dimension. He has also worked with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and members of the Count Basie Orchestra. Offard has recorded with the jazz group, Lines and Spaces, Dee Alexander and the Trinity United Church of Christ.
Offard co-wrote the song, "I'll Follow You" which was recorded by Grammy-Award winner Melvin Williams and Tracy Worth. His music has also been showcased on National Public Radio and the Australian documentary, "Animal World."
Offard, who has a master's degree in music, has taught guitar and jazz studies at Chicago State University since 1992.
"I have always enjoyed the interaction with the students," he said. "It is kind of a great gig to get paid for doing what I was going to do anyway."
Offard named Stevie Wonder, George Benson, George Duke, Prince and Roger as his musical inspirations.
"I loved funk," he said. "I always loved music that took a spiritual approach."
In 1994, Offard published "Back To Basics: A Comprehensive Method For Guitar," an instruction.
"I couldn�t find what I needed for my students," he said about the book's inspiration. "That book was really for people like me who could play already but may have missed some of the basics of music."
CeCe Winans, Donnie McClurkin and Whitney Houston are some artists that Offard would like to work with in the future.
"I would love to write for some of the more powerful voices that are speaking to our generation," he said. Besides the local record store, "Rise" can be found at www.FeltonOffard.com, www.CDBaby.com and www.Amazon.com .
- by Allison Horton - The Chicago Citizen


Felton Offard - Rise

June 04, 2004
By Peggy Oliver

Waldon Records

From the college classroom teaching the art of jazz and guitar to sharing the words of the Almighty. Rise by Felton Offard (Waldon Records) is the debut solo project from a veteran guitarist who has played with several influential jazz musicians including Louis Belson, Maynard Ferguson, and members of The Count Basie Orchestra, plus pop icon Barry Manilow.

The Chicago resident also leads the jazz unit, Lines & Spaces, which recorded the critically acclaimed Shades of Brown. His compositions have been featured on N.P.R. (National Public Radio), Chicago radio stations, and as co-writer for the Melvin Williams/Tracy Worth duet, I'll Follow You. Before joining the faculty of Chicago State University, Offard studied at Northern Illinois University. In keeping with his role as teacher, Offard has written a guitar instruction book.

The influences of George Benson, George Duke and George Clinton resonate on Rise. Offard also teams up with some participants from the gospel play, "Comfortable Shoes", where he played in the house band.

The Afro-Cuban percolator, Persuaded, is based on the scripture: "Nothing shall separate us from the love of God." (Romans 8:35). Near the end, the small vocal ensemble eases into a gospel-fueled mass choir.

Surrendering to the Lord becomes key in growing closer and comfortable. I'm Yours has few lyrics, but all that's necessary in communicating total humbleness: "If you want my love…, my time…, my life, it's Yours." Pianist/co-producer/co-arranger Ron Walters Jr. contributes a brief but pleasant solo, and a muted trumpet on the hook lends a gorgeous touch.

Clothed with updated soul, a la Musiq, What Is This, arranged by Edwin Hawkins Jr., reveals how the Holy Spirit detours our human ways: "What is this that makes me do right when I do wrong." Christopher Neal Jackson's lead and harmonies invoke an up close and personal encounter, especially with: "When I'm down low, You give me a song."

The title track points out the astounding ways that the Creator works: "You're wonderfully and beautifully made" (Psalm 139:13). He also made us to face challenges head-on: "Rise, rise, knowing life's not fair." Jackson's expressive vocals are highlighted once again.

Offard becomes the worship motivator for Won't Stop Worshipping. The testimony of Job who faced constant is cited: "Thou I be laid bare yet will I praise Him." A string orchestra, decorated with Jackson's solid backgrounds, accompany Offard's claim to keep praising: "till there's no more breath in my body".

More Like Jesus aims keeping our problems and impure thoughts at bay: "I wanna' do what's right and not what's in my mind." Offard's gingerly acoustic guitar follows suit after Jackson drops the concluding lyric: "hold me, shape me, direct me, play your melody."

Dance to your heart's content on Above My Head, while lending an ear to the these encompassing words: "Holy melody fall down on me."

An array of instrumental tracks complete the CD. Playtime explores the facet of Offard's skills. For most of the funky ride, he maintains a sweet aura. Then the amps are cranked up for a wah-wah filled finale. A Dream Of Lindsay, dubbed in honor of Walters Jr.'s son, Ronald Lindsay, creeps along until the 'dream' takes shape with galloping tempos and the background singer's triumphant crescendo. After Through Their Eyes, there's another special tribute for one of Offard's children, the samba-induced Alyssa. Reverting to the backbeat of Hi Records and Al Green, the blues rumbler, Mercy & Grace, couples Lennell Harris' howling vocal fills and Offard's guitar in overdrive.

Offard quotes Ecclesiates 9:10 on the CD liner credits: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." His nimble fingers are a blessing to the jazz and gospel community. Rise could have slipped into mundane pop/smooth jazz passages, yet Offard, along with Walters Jr.'s production and vocal arranging, mixes the musical pot from insightful worship to current R&B flavors to the throbbing blues exhibited on the last track. Co-vocal arranger Jackson, who also played Simba in the stage version of "The Lion King", dazzles whether in a head-nodding groove or a relaxed environment.

Felton Offard composed most of Rise with occasional assistance from Walters Jr., whose keyboards and synthesizers mesh well with the guitar foundations. Rise has risen to another spiritual plateau, never taking its musical eyes off Jesus.

- GospelCity.com


Felton Offard: Rise
With a reminiscent style of that of Wayman Tisdale "RISE" is a release for those looking for the smoothest combination of jazz, gospel and r&b but of course it doesn't just stop there. Felton Offard, is a versatile artist who has worked with diverse acts, from pop star Barry Manilow to jazz legend Clark Terry. He wrote and produced seven of nine songs on the critically acclaimed jazz project by Lines and Spaces entitled "Shades of Brown", co-wrote the song, "I'll Follow You", recorded by Grammy award winner Melvin Williams and Tracy Worth. This release is sure worth holding unto.

Our favourite track(s): 2/3/8/9
Listening Rate: 9/10
Vocalz: 7/10
Production: 8/10
- Nu Flava Magazine www.NUFLAVAMAG.com


Felton Offard - RISE

Felton Offard appears on:

American Idol George Huff's CD Miracles as co-writer of title track.

Lines and Spaces - Shades of Brown
Various Artists - Journeys of Hope
The Anointed Ones - This Is Christmas
Audley Reid - Anytime Anyplace
Ben Hollis - Love Your Life
Bon & Nip - Bar and Grill
Bon & Nip - The Release
Bon & Nip - Unheard Of
Dee Alexander - Live At The Hot House
The Roots of Gospel (Japanese Import)
Trinity United Church of Christ - Live In Switzerland


Feeling a bit camera shy


When a person discovers that they have a very special talent, one of the most important responsibilities that come with that gift is developing it and sharing it. Felton Offard has done that in numerous ways. A native of Freeport, IL and resident of Chicago, Felton has become a respected and versatile guitarist on the highest level. Felton teaches guitar and jazz studies at Chicago State University. He has worked and/or recorded with Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Louis Bellson, Maynard Ferguson, Randy Brecker, Lines & Spaces, Chicago Jazz Ensemble, and Burgess Gardner Orchestra, James Moody and several members of the Count Basie Orchestra. He has also worked with pop icons, The Fifth Dimension and Barry Manilow.
As a writer, Felton has authored the book, “Back To Basics: A Comprehensive Method for Guitar.” Mr. Offard co-wrote the song, “I’ll Follow You”, recorded by Grammy award winner, Melvin Williams and Tracy Worth. His works have appeared on National Public Radio and the Australian documentary “Animal World”. Felton also wrote and produced seven of the nine songs on the critically acclaimed jazz project by Lines and Spaces entitled “Shades of Brown”. As a guitarist he has appeared all over the United States and Europe. Now Felton enters another phase of his illustrious music career as he releases his first solo CD, Rise.
Rise is an inspirational jazz CD featuring music that stirs the emotions on many levels. The Latin-tinged song, Persuaded lifts your spirit in such a manner that you feel upbeat, cheerful and full of joy. I am persuaded, I’m gonna make it; I’m dedicated, I will not stop, won’t turn around. The title track, Rise features vocals by actor and singer Christopher Neal Jackson. This stunning song is a truly inspirational track that hits you in all the places that count – your head, your heart and your ears.
The instrumental tracks are interspersed with two more vocal tracks that are truly amazing. More Like Jesus has a beautiful lyric that is followed by brilliant guitar improvisations as it ends. Finally, Felton takes on a huge task by taking a truly classic gospel track that is so well ingrained in our minds that you hold breath as you wait to hear what he does - then you “exhale” when you hear the interpretation of the Hawkins Family classic, What Is This. The original beauty of the song remains with a little something extra added. With this CD, Felton has risen to new heights.