Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra
John Lennon preached, "All you need is love." Brother Joscephus heard the call and made it his life's work to spread the gospel.
In 2007, Brother Joscephus formed his Love Revival Revolution Orchestra to assist him in his mission. The ensemble released its self-titled debut album in 2009 and spent the last few years touring up and down the East Coast joyously testifying about the power of love.
Although based in New York, Brother Joscephus and his crew could easily be mistaken for New Orleans natives, delivering a Louisiana-inspired fusion of gospel, soul, jazz, funk, and rhythm and blues rock 'n' roll in a carnival-like atmosphere. Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra provide an opportunity to experience the party with their latest release, "Live at Brooklyn Bowl."
The album is a live concert recording of the band at the Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, N.Y., during Mardi Gras 2010. The 12-song performance captures the essence of Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra, a righteous explosion of love and music.
Substituting a live album for a studio recording for the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra's sophomore effort is entirely appropriate, as their music is best represented on the stage, rather than a small, concealed room. "Live at the Brooklyn Bowl" displays their expertise in audience stimulation and how the resulting response feeds back into their show.
The core group consists of 12 people and at times, during "Live at the Brooklyn Bowl," up to 17 are simultaneously working the crowd. Brother Joscephus leads an ensemble that consists of a three-piece horn section, heralded as the "Shepherds of the Wind," the "Voices of Reason" gospel choir, and the "Guardians of the Groove" rhythm section. Each component is an essential contributor to the experience.
The "Brooklyn Bowl Parade" opens the show, with the Love Revival Revolution prepping the audience for the ensuing hour-long revival meeting by marching through the soon-to-be converted with Mardi Gras beads and engaging them with call and response chants. Following is the electrifying "A Child Shall Lead," a finalist in the gospel category of the 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Competition.
Brother Josephus, in his best manic preacher delivery, quickly makes it clear that no one is going to leave without joining the "Revolution of Love."
Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra exude the energy of a tent revival.
Many of their songs have gospel overtones, but their business is not religious in nature. Brother Joscephus says his assignment is "to spread as much love as possible around, regardless of your individual beliefs, race, age, gender, sex, sexual orientation or whatever it is you're into."
Four songs from "Live at the Brooklyn Bowl" have the word "love" in the title, and one would be hard pressed to find a song that doesn't contain it. One of the highest points of the album is provided at the halfway point, when BroJo hands the mic over to Seoul Sistah No. 1, one of his two female back-up singers. She delivers an expressive rendition of Queen's "Somebody to Love," a fitting cover song for the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra.
The Love Revival Revolution Orchestra recreates Fat Tuesday at every performance, so their Mardi Gras show is especially rollicking. They pay homage to the Big Easy with a six-minute take on the traditional "When the Saints Go Marching In" and follow it up a couple of songs later with the sprawling Creedence Clearwater Revival song, "Born on the Bayou." For those who can't make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, a Brother Joscephus concert is an excellent alternative.
Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra are one of the most exciting and entertaining bands on today's tour circuit. "Live at Brooklyn Bowl" easily provides the backing to this claim. Good times and a restoration of faith in love are to be expected when spending a night with BroJo & Co.
Brother Joscephus is online at http://www.brotherjoscephus.com.