Feel the Spirit

featuring Marilyn Keller

Image of CD CoverFeel the Spirit was recorded in Portland, Oregon in late 2006 and early 2007. This is the second CD devoted to multi-denominational spiritual music performed in early jazz styles. It is available in CD format.

The musicians on this recording are as follows:

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Liner Notes

The original liner notes read as follows:

A Black Swan gospel performance is a celebration! A celebration of the infectious spirit of religious music. A celebration of the variety of positive and optimistic systems of faith from around the world. A celebration of what unites us in our humanity. A celebration of the connection between audience and performer. A celebration that we are alive and kicking for a shot at another day. A celebration that all the musicians made it out of bed on time, usually, for the 9 a.m. down beat. Not too serious — a manner of celebration that might bring Snoopy to mind.

Featured on this recording is Black Swan's extraordinary vocalist, Marilyn Keller. Audiences worldwide appreciate her honest and heartfelt vocals. She sings in a variety of genres, but it is safe to say that Marilyn's roots are in spiritual music and there she is most at home. In concert, Marilyn tells of listening as a toddler to her father's gospel quartet singing selections such as "Operator" and "Amazing Grace" in the living room of her home. The music of these formative years is with us forever and greatly influences who we are. Marilyn's featured vocals leave no doubt as to where she comes from and who she is.

Alan Phillips joins Marilyn on several selections, singing lead or harmony. His heritage of listening to and performing various folk styles similarly shines through. "Church Rockin' Medley,” "Xian Medley," "Life is Like a Mountain Railway" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" also benefit from the collaboration of our guest vocal ensemble. MaryEtta, Sandra, Letha, Eugene and Amber were delightful to work with and an enriching addition to the production.

The Black Swan instrumentalists play a supporting role here. Our job is to provide arrangements, musical interplay and the foundation from which soloists and the congregation can sing at their uninhibited best. Plenty of jazz to go around, but definitely a focus on vocals. An exception are the intermezzi, which feature Steve, John, Ron, Ernie, Kit and Lew, singly or in pairs, and provide a chance for each to step forward and present a personal, musical statement in his unique style.

We invite you to "Feel the Spirit" as well, and celebrate with Black Swan.

Kit Johnson
May 2007


  1. Battle Hymn of the Republic. Julia Ward Howe. Arr., Kit Johnson. Vocal, Marilyn Keller & Alan Phillips...[4'16”]
  2. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Traditional. Arr., Kit Johnson. Vocal, Marilyn Keller & Choir...[4'17”]
  3. Clarinet Intermezzo: Peace Like a River. Traditional. Arr., Steve Matthes. Voice, Lew Chapman...[1'42”]
  4. Amazing Grace. John Newton. Arr., Kit Johnson. Vocal, Marilyn Keller...[4'36”]
  5. Life is Like a Mountain Railway. Charles Tillman & M.E. Abbey. Arr., Kit Johnson. Vocal, Alan Phillips, Marilyn Keller & Choir...[4'13”]
  6. Old Rugged Cross. George Bennard. Arr., Steve Matthes...[4'32”]
  7. Xian Medley: (Will the Circle be Unbroken & This Little Light of Mine). A.P. Carter & Traditional. Arr., Steve Matthes. Vocal, Marilyn Keller, Alan Phillips & Choir...[5'10”]
  8. Piano & Drum Intermezzo: Ezekiel Saw the Wheel. Traditional. Arr., John Bennett & Ron Leach...[1'33”]
  9. His Eye is on the Sparrow. Charles Gabriel & Civilla Martin. Arr., Kit Johnson. Vocal, Marilyn Keller...[5'58”]
  10. Operator. William Spivery. Arr., Kit Johnson. Vocal, Marilyn Keller...[4'14”]
  11. Trumpet Intermezzo: Ave Maria. Franz Schubert. Arr., Ernie Carbajal...[1'32”]
  12. I Shall not be Moved. Traditional. Arr., Lou Halmy. Vocal, Alan Phillips & Marilyn Keller...[3'49”]
  13. Gonna Build a Mountain. Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley. Arr., Steve Matthes. Vocal, Marilyn Keller...[2'41”]
  14. Old Adam. William Bolcom. Arr., John Bennett...[3'15”]
  15. Just a Closer Walk with Thee. Traditional. Arr., Kit Johnson. Vocal, Marilyn Keller...[4'29”]
  16. I'll Fly Away. Albert Brumley. Arr., Steve Matthes. Vocal, Marilyn Keller & Alan Phillips...[4'46”]
  17. Trombone Intermezzo: How Great Thou Art. Swedish Folk Melody. Arr., Lew Chapman...[1'25”]
  18. Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit. Traditional. Arr., Kit Johnson. Vocal, Marilyn Keller...[3'44”]
  19. Tuba Intermezzo: Go Down, Moses! Traditional. Arr., Kit Johnson...[1'58”]
  20. Church Rockin' Medley: (Standin' in the Need of Prayer, Old Time Religion, & Do Lord!). Traditional. Arr., Kit Johnson. Vocal, Marilyn Keller, Alan Phillips & Choir ... [5'01”]

    TOTAL TIME: ... [73'35”]