CONSONANCE is a contemporary gospel quartet music with a twist! They hail from the Richmond, California which is in the San Francisco Bay Area. The group is the winner of the Bay Area Blues Society’s 2009 a”Best Gospel Group” award. These performers are outstanding gospel singers with a style that is unique and captivating and reminds the listener of the “do-wops” groups of the past. They can sing.!!
The group is clearly an innovator in this genre of music. Their arrangements are not typical of a gospel quartet; yet their vocals display skill and a distinctive style. They can hit you with their “good news blues gospel” and then dazzle you with their contemporary or traditional renditions. Their first cd was “See The Light”. This was a compilation of R&B tinged gospel songs that featured tight harmonies and beautiful lyrics. The project was produced by Stanford McClelland, Jr. Stan was formally the bass player for the Mighty Gospeltones, a group in which Mack Williams and Paul Foster, Jr. were prominent members. “See The Light” received impressive reviews and established CONSONANCE as a force in the contemporary gospel quartet scene.
“Message Of Hope” is the second project by the group. It too was produced by Stanford McClelland, Jr. and has songs written by him, Mack Williams and Fred Jackson. These writers are very different in styles, but their combination of songs gives the listener a performance that is like a good Louisiana gumbo. This lively upbeat collection of songs showcases each member of the group on lead. And it has that harmony-filled background for which the group is known. It was released in April of 2011 and is a must hear cd if you like good singing, exciting lyrics and spirit-filled arrangements.
On February 15, 2016, the group released its third cd entitled, “Come On In This House“. This project is a wonderful compilation of exquisitely written songs and dynamite performances by gifted musicians and vocalists. All of the songs on the cd were written and arranged by Mack Williams. They represent his love for Hip-Hop, country, blues, R&B, Reggae and gospel. The entire cd will become a classic in the genre of gospel quartets.
From the title song to the last cut on the cd, the listener will be amazed at how accomplished the performances are. From the upbeat “Come On In This House” to the smooth and soulful “My Song”, the group delivers one awesome performance after another. They also have guest artists that share their gifts on this project. Recording jazz artist, Lloyd Gregory, gives his all on “Good News Blues #1 and #3”. His solo performances on each cut are very special and will definitely excite the listener. Lloyd also help co-produce these cuts with Mack Williams. Their collaboration produced some awesome music.
Minister Marvin Webb (“It’s Time For Love”) gives a moving performance on “Hold Me Jesus”. Rev. Webb is in rare form when he delivers a wonderful lead vocal on the second part of this song. Also, Australian-born singer and recording artist Lisa Shah and “the poster boy of positive rap”, Saeed Williams, lend their talents to make “U Gotta Stay Holy” an intriguing gospel chant with a deft rap performance by Saeed.
Then there is the guitar work of Levi Seacer, formally a member of Prince and the New Generation. Levi also performs with Tony, Toni, Tone and Jodie Watley to name a few. Levi offers some outstanding guitar solos on “Do The Right Thang” and “My Song”. His extended solo on “My Song” catapults this song to anther level.
Given the field of gospel quartets, this cd is without a doubt out of the ordinary. Listeners will marvel at the level of professionalism and the dynamic performances delivered on each song. No one will find this project to be just another quartet cd. It is exceptional. You can purchase the cd by going to www.cdbaby.com/consonance.
Although individually they have been singing for many, many years, the group has been together since 1995. The members are Paul Foster, Jr., Bobby Reed, Larrie Noble, the Rev. Melvin Williams and McKinley “Mack” Williams. Paul Foster, Jr. is the son of the legendary Paul Foster, Sr., who with Sam Cooke, were the lead singers for the legendary Soul Stirrers. Paul, Jr. also was a member of the 1970’s group The Brothers and Others. This group recorded for RCA and Paul sang the lead on “Now Is The Time Of The Season”. The group was well-known throughout the college and supper club scene in California. Paul, Jr.’s style has an uncanny resemblance to his father.
Bobby Reed sings lead and plays bass guitar for the group. He was the frontman from the popular 1970’s band named The Right Kind. Their tremendously popular hit single, “Why Do You Have To Lie” allowed the group to performed throughout California, Las Vegas, Reno, Hawaii, and Europe. Bobby was voted “Best Blues Vocalist” by the Bay Area Blues Society. Bobby also has played backup for Etta James, BB King, Albert King and others.
Larrie Noble is a formally trained guitarist with a B.A. Degree in music theory. He has performed as a solo vocalist/guitarist and has played with notable artists such as Ron Kenoly, Edwin Hawkins, and Acts Full Gospel Church. Laurie is a gifted musician who sings lead and background vocals. Rev. Melvin Williams sings lead and bass background vocals. He was formally with the Pacesetters and the legendary producer, the late Harvey Fuqua. The group recorded with Varden, Imperial and Fantasy Records, and performed in the 1970’s with most of the popular acts of that day. Rev. Melvin and the late McHenry “Mike” Otis were founding members of CONSONANCE. They also recorded “Rejoice” with the Voices of St. John Missionary Baptist Church of Richmond, California.
McKinley “Mack” Williams sings lead and background vocals and was a member of the Brothers and Others with Paul Foster, Jr. Mack also sang the lead on their RCA hit, “When Love Is Like A River”. He was the front man for the Northern California funk band No Shame. Mack is a prolific song writer and arranger. He is currently writing the lyrics and music for their third cd project to be released in 2014. This cd will be a change from the first two projects in that it will feature gospel songs of inspiration and contemporary funk/soul. Mack has created what he calls “good news blues” and “step/slide” gospel songs that should suit the taste of young and old alike.
The newest member of the group is Dennis Reed. Dennis is a classical trained musician who first instrument was the trumpet. He has played with some of the biggest name in jazz and pop music, and was a staple solo performer in the Clyde Hardeman Big Band for many years. Dennis plays keyboards, sings background and lead vocals. His addition to the group has given Consonance’s a solid musical backbone that compliments the superior vocals.
CONSONANCE has appeared throughout Northern California. They performed at the Monterey Blues Festival, the San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Festival, the City of Oakland 2008 Art and Soul Festival, the Pittsburg Heritage Festival, the Hayward- Russell City Blues Festival, the City of San Francisco Juneteenth Festival, The Bay Area Blues Society Revue, the Marin City Blues Festival, the City of Richmond Juneteenth Festival, the AARP Convention in San Francisco and many banquets, weddings, churches and private affairs. If you want to be inspired, lifted to higher heights and filled with the spirit, you must see this smoothly choreographed group perform.
By Jackie Taylor
For booking performances please contact Ms. Jackie Taylor at 510.9327566