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Ben Tankard

Without ever taking a lesson or learning to read a note, composer and keyboardist Ben Tankard has, over the course of 18 years and 16 best selling recordings, used his God-given musical talent to share the hope of the Gospel that changed his life. Widely renowned by his millions of fans as the "Godfather of Gospel Jazz" and "The Quincy Jones Of Gospel" for his three-time Grammy nominated work as a producer, Tankard-who along with his wife Jewel pastors the Destiny Center, a fast growing church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (near Nashville) -has earned 15 gold and 6 platinum albums, nine Stellar Awards, six Dove nominations and three Gospel Music Hall of Fame Awards.

On his latest Sony/BMG/Zomba/Verity release Let's Get Quiet: The Smooth Jazz Experience, the multi-talented musician quiets his heart and taps into the gentler side of gospel, getting in touch with what millions of the faithful call the "still small voice" of God. While the majority of Tankard's previous recordings are all-star affairs featuring genre greats like Take 6, Yolanda Adams and Shirley Murdoch, Let's Get Quiet--with the exception of the passionate lead vocal of Shelly Massey on the dreamy, soulful opening number "Let's Get Quiet (Shh)"-was conceived as a completely solo contemporary smooth jazz project. In addition to doing all the drum programming and sampling, Tankard plays keyboards, guitars and the Yamaha EZ-TP trumpet parts.

In addition to eight instantly compelling originals, ranging from graceful and soothingly romantic numbers like "Remain Calm" and "Close Your Eyes" to the easily percussive, old school R&B-flavored pieces "Lake Cabin," "Night Flight" (which has a cool, thumping chill vibe) and "Slow Jam W.B.E.N," Tankard includes his inspired interpretations of favorite urban classics by Frankie Beverly (the funky, mid tempo "Before I Let Go"), Al Green (the reassuring "Everything's Gonna Be Alright") and Patrice Rushen ("Remind Me"). He also adds a lush and elegant piano solo take on the beautiful hymn "I Come To The Garden Alone."

"The title 'Let's Get Quiet' makes a statement that is a suggestion," Tankard says. "Besides the war going on and the ongoing problem of crime in our society, everybody seems to be in a rush nowadays. I know that the most peace you can find is in the presence of God, and by slowing and quieting down the outside noise, we allow Him to help us in all areas of our lives, from relationships to important business decisions. On a lot of my previous albums, I performed familiar church songs in a jazzy manner and added some original material. Because people recognized so much of the music from church, and that's the environment where I first put my fingers on the keys and began playing, we called it 'gospel.'"

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