al stewart

Sweet Honey in the Rock

beach full of shells

Sweet Honey in the Rock
Live! Jazz at Lincoln Center


“Sweet Honey In The Rock are the pinnacle of strong female groups. Empowering, inspiring, and largely a cappella, these ladies know how to bring it, and on this recording they pay tribute to several cornerstone artists over two full-length albums. . . . While their voices alone command your attention, there are plenty of moments here where you find yourself sort of lost in the mesmerizing voices and rhythms. It’s easy to recognize the perfection of this performance. Everything is spot on, from timing to pitch to delivery. It’s all so rhythmic and moving. This album is more than a tribute, it’s an invitation (and an inspiration) for us to be better than who we are.” – Mark Fisher, Colossal Pop

“. . . A generation that grew up on world beat can eat this twofer up with a spoon. A theatrical piece that shows the love to their influences, this African/world beat/jazz vocal outing is one for the senses. You don’t have to be an NPR/armchair traveler to fall under its spell . . . Simply smashing adult listening for receptive, adventurous ears.” – Chris Spector, Midwest Record

. . . A fascinating history of African-American roots music. It’s a great opportunity to discover the background of Sweet Honey In The Rock, one of the most important performers of African-American rooted vocal music.” – Angel Romero, World Music Central

“Most of the songs chosen for the concert were drawn from the repertoires of the four honorees and Sweet Honey’s interpretations both honor the versions of the ancestors and bring something new and distinctive. I’ve absolutely no doubt that all four – each of whom passed away sometime in the past decade – would have been very proud. . . . In its entirety, A Tribute is a beautiful and very powerful blending of various folk, jazz, blues and African musical styles.” – Mike Regenstreif, Folk Roots/Folk Branches blog

“[Sweet Honey’s] latest release (the first for five years) is arguably their most intriguing yet, being a fresh live set that for some of its numbers places the ensemble’s distinctive, stirring, soulful a cappella at the centre of interwoven new arrangements involving a jazz trio nicknamed The Honey Men . . . a heady two-disc procession of gospel, Afro-centric songs, civil rights anthems, show tunes, blues, jazz standards, and even a salsa-flavoured original . . . It all adds up to a real sense of occasion, on a truly invigorating, powerhouse set that can’t fail to inspire and raise the spirits.” – David Kidman, NetRhythms

Sweet Honey in the Rock is a reflection of Psalms 81:16. You will indeed be fed honey from a rock and with each sweet choral vocalization; the spirit will rest in your soul. Images of the sacred present themselves in their various incarnations. What is true here is a love of Africa, freedom from oppression the world over and the strength that rises from their cappella voices to bring unity to all peoples. This album, once I really began to listen, brought tears to my eyes and a much needed balm to my soul. The additional tracks in this album showcase just what these incredible artists are capable of. A great find! (5 stars)” – Dana Wright, (syndicated)

“This album serves as an excellent documentation of not only the group’s expressive and technical prowess, but also their place in a musical and social tradition. . . . A stellar performance, and this album captures the experience for the rest of us.” – Ryan Smith, The Direct Buzz

“. . . Fans and newbies alike will groove to two CDs worth of Sweet Honey at their eclectic best.” – Bob Marovich, The Black Gospel Blog

“From a cappella teeming with earth-shattering and firm vocal harmony to soul-rousing gospel to the ethnically rich sounds of Africa to blues-jazz, this mighty group comes bearing the gift of a live helping of their riveting style on Sweet Honey on the Rock: A Tribute (Live Jazz at Lincoln Center). – Ronald Jackson, Smooth Jazz Ride

“…Their sheer musicianship can still raise goosebumps.” – John Lewis, The Guardian, UK

“Harry Belafonte once called the group ‘the keeper of the flame.’ Constantly urging its audience to look at complex issues from a new perspective, it is easy to understand why.” – Rosalind Tyler, New Journal & Guide Online

“Across all [its] years and configurations, Sweet Honey had always performed a cappella. But in 2010 they broke with tradition and united with a male jazz trio . . . The intent, dazzlingly realized throughout this 100-minute concert, captured over two nights at Jazz at Lincoln Center in April 2011, was to honor . . . artists whom the women recognize as major influences and heroes , , ,  The project required a significant widening of the Sweet Honey repertoire, and they embrace the new material with typical élan. . .  the greatest joy remains their intricate five-part harmonies, especially on a grand, Odetta-inspired ‘Freedom Suite’ and, in a concert-concluding return to familiar turf, a towering blend of ‘N’diarabi’ and ‘Africa Is Where My Heart Lies.’” – Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes

“. . . A strong set from the get-go. . . . Each of these women has a voice remarkable in its own right, one that could be expected to front a band of its own, and combined into endlessly shifting combinations, the effect is transcendent. . . A Tribute is a strong album overall, and a breathtakingly virtuosic live document. Anyone unfamiliar with Sweet Honey in the Rock should remedy that oversight immediately; they are an institution in the best way, and one that does much to inject some hope and optimism into the contemporary social fabric. (Rating: 8 out of 10)” – David Maine, PopMatters