On his 2001 live release Christian saxaphonist, Grady Nichols, called in some favors and brought in some of his friends. The result is an exceptional live album that shows off his talents on sax both on his original material and on the songs he chooses to cover.
Possibly most notable of his covers are Stevie Wonder's Heaven Help Us All and the traditional hymn Amazing Grace both of which feature Chicago vocalist, Bill Champlin at his soulful best. He also covers Michael W. Smith (I Will Be Your Friend), Level 42 (Something About You), Avalon (In Not Of), Rachael Lampa (Live For You), as well as performing several of his own songs.
Nichols is an exceptional sax player, he plays with passion and feeling. Even when covering other musicians material, he puts his own stamp on it and truly owns it as if he'd written it himself. It's the conviction with which he plays which makes this CD such an absolute joy to listen to. Whether it's his covers of Live For You or Something About You his own or Awakenings or First Corinthians Thirteen you can't help but get into his upbeat performances.
If Bill Champlin's voice were a car-- his contributions to Chicago could best be described as Grandpa out for a Sunday afternoon drive in his Caddy... conversely his contributions to this album on the other hand more closely resemble a Ferrari being taken out on the auto bahn and being allowed to fully open up and fire on all cylinders. Grady Nichols was truly blessed to get Champlin at his best, as opposed to his more pedestrian.
Nichols band truly complements him with musicianship that is on equal par to his. This album is a "must have" for any fan of jazz regardless of what one's religious affiliation might be. Its a gem that truly transcends its genre.
Grady Nichols & Bill Champlin performing Amazing Grace
Grady Nichols & Bill Champlin performing Heaven Help Us All