John P. Kee really knows how to throw a party. Recently, the legendary recording artist threw a concert celebrating the 70th birthday of his mentor and gospel icon, Bishop Rance Allen. Kee hosted Jason Nelson, Yolanda DeBerry, Isaiah Templeton, Shawn Bigby and Zeeksong for a spirited and packed-out concert at his New Life Fellowship Church in Charlotte, NC.
For those artists who couldn't appear in person, they sent greetings via Instagram. A Korean soul music quartet, Korean Seoul, serenaded Bishop Allen with an a cappella rendition of the Rance Allen Group's signature tune, "Something About the Name Jesus." Multiple re-postings of the video have amassed over 150,000 views: https://instagram.com/p/BqXyYfOhm2N/
Kirk Franklin, who wrote the song, wrote on his IG wall, "the greatest opportunity of my life was to work with you sir. Forever grateful for what you made this song become." The original and various re-recordings of the song by The Rance Allen Group have earned over 50 million streams.
"Thank you for all that you've done for me and many others like me to blaze trails out here, so we can sing our songs today," Brian Courtney Wilson said on his IG page. R&B artists ranging from Ruben Studdard and K.C. Hailey (of K-Ci & JoJo/Jodeci fame) to Tank and Lalah Hathaway, all sent Instagram messages as well. "You have been one of my favorite singers all of my life," Hathaway said in her post. "I don't know if you remember me as a ten-year-old, but you were one of my favorite singers even then." Super Producer, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, said, "I've got the Stax vinyl records and I listen to them jams man and you were ahead of your time with the grooves you were making and your singing, your style of singing was ahead of your time."
The stars kept on shining and sharing Instagram anecdotes about Bishop Allen. PJ Morton, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Kierra Sheard, Tasha Page, Fred Hammond, singer/songwriter Eric Dawkins, comedian Not Karlton Banks, worship leader Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Le'Andria Johnson, Lena Byrd Miles, and Erica and Warryn Campbell, among others.
Joey "Beanz" Little of The Rude Boys posted a video too. "I've followed you ever since I was a kid," he said. "A part of my makeup of who I am has got something to do with you." Actor Josh Eason, who's acting in Kee's new movie, "The Lost Song," also made a video. As did Anthony Hamilton, Bishop Carlton Pearson and Israel Haughton and Adrienne Bailon.
Big-name pastors such as Bishop Charles E. Blake, Travis Greene and Bishop Joseph Walker saluted Allen via Instagram. "What you've done can only be imitated but never duplicated because you are really the best at what you do," Greene said.
"What do you say about a voice for the ages?" scholar Michael Eric Dyson asked in his IG post. "What do you say about one of the most poignant, piercing plangent tenors that runs up and down the scales. The arpeggio, the melisma, the incredible sonic timbre, the tone that resonated the deep and profound soul of Detroit. With a voice and a group that conjures the majestic heights and the sorrowful depths to which we could descend and ascend the extraordinary power of gospel to reach beyond a barrow sectarian region of the church."
The Rance Allen Group which is comprised of Bishop Allen and his brothers, Steve and Thomas, are currently planning new music to release in late 2019. In the meantime, their latest project, "Live in San Francisco, " continues to sell well and is available at this link: http://smarturl.it/LiveFromFrisco Stay up-to-date on Rance Allen at his Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/realranceallen