Led by Gary Hines, the Grammy award-winning, 40-piece gospel choir Sounds Of Blackness has recorded with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Alexander O’Neal. The advice of Janet Jackson producing duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis prevailed on Sounds Of Blackness to launch Perspective Records, succeeding almost immediately with Optimistic. Released in 1990, it was highly instrumental in sparking nationwide revival of gospel music.
Hines visited with Al McFarlane at Lucille’s Kitchen last week Jan. 6 to share the latest news about his institution Sounds of Blackness. The audience immediately applauded Hines, a native North Minneapolis son who, with Sounds of Blackness, has made good around the world. Introducing the group’s recent release Soul Symphony, Hines also announced that the internationally accomplished entity has established its own label, Sound of Blackness Records, for which Soul Symphony is an inaugural offering. “We stepped out on faith,” said Hines, “and formed our own record label [with] inspiration from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis —our mentors.”
Hines described the new album as “a duality in terms of its meaning. It’s certainly a soul symphony in the musical sense, the music our people which Sounds of Blackness always does — jazz, reggae, blues, R&B, Hip-Hop, spiritual — every sound of Blackness. Also, on the spiritual level, ‘soul symphony’ is the harmony of humanity. When we listen to that music, that voice of God inside of us, we all come together in harmony.”
Hines made sure to mention the group’s roots in the African American community, including a nod to Mahmoud El-Kati, who happened to be in the audience. Hines said, "Sounds Of Blackness evolved and emanated out of this community. Out of places like The Way and Sabbathani Community Center.”