Minister John W.  Howard Jr. & The End Time Levites
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Minister John W. Howard Jr. & The End Time Levites

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- Louis Williams- Washington, DC


http://www.prayzehymnonline.com/reviews_jhendtimelevites.html

Minister John W. Howard, Jr. & the End Time Levites
"The End Result"
(ETL Music)
Producers: John W. Howard, Jr., Jerod L. Howard, D. Corey Shipley


::ALBUM REVIEW::

With the repetitiveness and over usage of the same beats and producers dominating the top of mainstream and gospel charts, sometimes bending the “status quo” driven, pop machine of the industry is what listeners aim to hear. That doesn’t mean that being overly radical is the right thing to do, but it means there is still room for freshness. And in the spiraling world of most gospel choir music, a style that seems to slowly lose its luster as the years go by, that freshness is greatly needed.

Coming out of the New Jersey camp comes one of the most refreshing and engaging ensembles to jump into the gospel arena to date. Led by John W. Howard, Jr., the nineteen-member cast of the End Time Levites deliver their first independently-released project; “The End Result,” and aims to mix three credible components into their array of contemporary gospel. The first and most obvious factor rests on the group’s passion for the old-fashioned choir music. The big jams, along with their enthusiasm on the uptempo cuts, resemble modern copies of Keith Pringle’s Pentecostal Community Choir and the Chicago Mass Choir and the ballads bear a sweet resemblance to the drawn-out effects heard by the Whitfield Company and Rev. Brunson’s Tommies. The next factor to look into consists of their honest desire to paint a good impression by performing material that slightly overshadows their biggest influences. This achievement, an important one for any newcomer regardless of genre, is strongly acknowledged throughout the bulk of the disc. And even in the rough and uneven cuts, they appear to be confident in their sound and feels as if they welcome public comparisons to their fellow contemporaries. That leads listeners to the final factor - their attempt to merge modern sounds with the old, unbreakable traditions. From praise-and-worship to the funk-oriented urban gospel, Howard finds no fear in facing what is acceptably cool, even though his tough, James Cleveland-esque, and at times rugged baritone voice may be best fitted for stricter traditional material.

On this set, Howard uses the platform to expose a number of original compositions and well-organized arrangements. The meaty portions of the uptempo head bobbers, such as the encouraging “You Shall Get Through This” and the rock/funk grooves of “Won’t Work”, are accented with articulate harmonies and good doses of controlled vibrato. The album’s opener, “Release,” is a song that uses few words, a locked-down groove and spunky choral delivery. Shockingly, the song may have been much more enjoyable if the drum licks were a bit more locked down - using a Philly four-on-the-floor disco-like rhythm. The biggest attraction of them all rests on the church-infused “I Made It”; which walks the classic hallways of Institutional Radio Choir and the Benny Cummings Singers. The serious horn arrangement, fancy organ/keyboard work of Jerod Howard and the down-home hand clapping entices listeners into the song’s high energy.

The ballads, for the most part, are intense, majestic and boldly arranged. “Focus” flows with big choral swoops and drops and wisely executed harmonies; showcasing the End Time Levites’ level of trained vocal performance. Even though the song is very thick to digest at first listen, it blooms with big build-ups and scripturally-empowered lyrics. A few worthy listens should straighten out the lifespan of this cut. D. Corey Shipley uses a few musical bars of James Cleveland’s “Lord Do It” to construct “Jesus Never Fails”. Lead vocalist Bishop Charles R. Lyles delivers a number of highly-emotional squalls and hair-raising high notes while the End Time Levites uses a heavy dose of vibrato and important levels of diction on their background duties. While the song may be a favored song for personal CD players, AM-radio may shy away from the big noise towards the ending. Other keynote cuts tucked here include Jerod Howard’s mesmeric “God Still Reigns” and the worship-postured “I Will Praise You,” which the latter flows directly into a few lines of Robert Fryson’s popular “God Is”.

Ultimately what makes “The End Result” a pleasing journey throughout its listening experience rests on the detailed post-production. With mixing handled by Glenn Barrett (GMWA Live, Richard Smallwood, Vickie Winans) and cautious overdubs being laid down at the impeccable Morningstar Studios, the efforts achieved by Howard and his crew are worth experiencing. A few adjustments in the album’s direction could have been made to make the album a bit more memorable, such as the change of rhythm for “Release,” more inclusions of super hits and possibly more time for some of the Levites’ to provide lead vocals since Howard pretty much controls the bulk of the selections. - www.prayzehymnonline.com


Posted February 1, 2008

http://www.prayzehymnonline.com/articles_readerschoice07.html

- J. Matthew Cobb


Discography

"The End Result" released July 2007

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Bio

Minister John W. Howard, Jr. lifelong gospel singer and drummer with roots deeply grounded in the church. John was raised and nurtured in gospel music by his parents, Pastor John and Joyce Howard. The ministry of John W. Howard, Jr. & The End-Time Levites was birthed on the campus of Rowan University, located in Glassboro, NJ. It was during John’s final year as director of the campus gospel choir that the vision for his next phase of ministry was unveiled. Before he would graduate, this 35 voice collegiate aggregation would complete a 12-song CD entitled: “Church On Campus: Live” under John’s leadership. While seeking the face of the Lord concerning the next facet of ministry, God led him to II Chronicles 29. Based on the word of God, he was ushered into the next dimension of his ministry. The End-Time Levites was founded on September 23, 2000. The choir consists of various young people coming from all different walks and denominations in the Body of Christ.

Along with the dynamic voices anointed to sing, our Musical Director, Minister Jerod Howard contributes greatly to the success of the music ministry. The End-Time Levites have traveled extensively and appeared with gospel greats such as: Youthful Praise, Richard Smallwood, Daryl Coley, Franklin “Bubby” Fann, James Hall, Craig Hayes, Bishop Charles R. Lyles & the New John Howard’s Caravan, and others.

After hearing the true calling given by God, in December of 2002, John W. Howard, Jr. gave his initial sermon. Since that time Minister Howard has been blessed to preach at various services, youth conferences and revivals spreading the love of Jesus and feeding the word of God to all. Minister Howard joyfully embraces his first call to his family as a husband and father. He is proud husband of Keisha Howard and father of two sons, Jashur and John III.

The End-Time Levites travel throughout the United States spreading the message of hope, deliverance, peace, and salvation to God’s people. The mission of the End-Time Levites is: To bring the end time message of Jesus Christ to people young and old. With the gift of song that God has given the End-Time Levites, the message is clear that there is a need for them during this end time.