Elder Randall Ogans Sr. – “What A Friend” CD

What A Friend

Alpha 7 Ministries is pleased to announce our new instrumental gospel jazz release by Elder Randall Ogans Sr., entitled “What A Friend”.  

Elder Randall Ogans Sr. is no stranger to the gospel music industry. He is the co-founder of Alpha 7 Ministries and the executive producer of several recordings of gospel artists from the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Now comes his debut instrumental gospel jazz CD, “What A Friend“, which includes 7 songs, including a few classic hymns/gems bathed in smooth instrumental arrangements, as well as some original compositions.  It also includes his inspirational message/spoken word  “We Need To Pray”. 

 With the world currently experiencing the Covid-19 coronavirus, economic depression, racial injustice, and extreme weather conditions, we believe this instrumental music will calm the agitations of the soul, and set the atmosphere for spiritual reflection, prayer, and studying the Word of God. 

Listen to and purchase the CD here!


What A Friend CD Reviews:

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Elder Randall Ogans, Sr.’s arrangement of “What A Friend” is like chicken soup for the soul. The jazz-infused instrumental is the title track from his debut gospel jazz CD, on which son Dorian is a featured musician and co-producer.

“What A Friend” opens with the lull of an acoustic piano, shaping each note of the melody into a reminder of the solace we and the generations before us have found in the 19th-century hymn. Ogans’ arrangement then blossoms into a full-bodied smooth instrumental, replete with electric piano, organ, pads, and percussion.

The track was recorded at Ogans’ own Alpha 7 Ministries Studios in Roseville, CA.

Libra Boyd

Libra Nicole Boyd, PhD is a musician, award-winning author, gospel music aficionado, and the founder and editor of Gospel Music Fever™. Her commitment to journalistic integrity includes bringing you reliable gospel music content that uplifts and advances the art form. Libra is presently working on several scholarly projects about gospel music in the media as well as gospel music in social movements.


By Bob Marovich – The Journal of Gospel Music

Elder Randall Ogans Sr.’s What a Friend contains classic hymns bathed in smooth instrumental arrangements.

Well, almost. “We Need to Pray” is the one and only track with lyrics or, more specifically, a spoken word meditation by Elder Ogans. Over the melody of the Lords of Harmony’s 1965 single, “If God Gave Us Everything,” Ogans shares a real-life parable about a homeless shelter to remind listeners that there but for the grace of God go we.

Otherwise, it’s instrumental jazz played by the duo of Elder Ogans (keyboards) and son Dorian (guitar, bass, and percussion). For example, the  title track opens with lovely flourishes on acoustic piano and transitions to a silky arrangement backed by gentle percussion, electric piano, and organ.

A mid-tempo arrangement of C. D. Martin and C. H. Gabriel’s “His Eye is on the Sparrow” features lightning bolts from Dorian’s electric guitar amidst a gradually crescendoing cooperative. Fanny Crosby and W. H. Doane’s nineteenth-century gospel song “I Am Thine (Draw Me Nearer)” gets generous helpings of piano alongside subdued organ and guitar. Elder’s lilting acoustic piano on this and other tracks is what really sells the album.

The duo takes the listener to church on the Sunday School favorite-turned-protest song “This Little Light of Mine.” Elder Ogans sustains the warbling of the organ while incrementally building its volume, a la Booker T. Jones, though there is no big finish.

The fidelity to the melodies serves the collection well and makes this a fine go-to CD for accompanying special events or prayer meetings at church.

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.

By Jon Wright – Radio Airplay Blog

Soothing souls with smoothly satisfying skill, Elder Randall Ogans delivers a fresh glimpse into the healing capacities of a familiar hymn with his rendition of “What a Friend”! Beginning with a single piano and a striking but subtle sense of motion, “What A Friend” soon transforms into a rich harmonic tapestry – ushering listeners into a peace beyond understanding with sweetly soaring organ tones and a groove that doesn’t quit! 

Each and every moment of Elder Ogans’ “What A Friend” carries its own strength and style – creating a composite experience just bursting with musicality! The decision to begin with intimate keys and a subtly grooving pass at the familiar hymn pays off brilliantly, with the transition into fuller instrumental support at 1:01 landing perfectly and segueing easily into the more percussive feel at 1:48. Excellent work from the bass player throughout, easily finding that supportively understated tone and a prominent place in the pocket. Likewise, Elder Ogans’ relationship to the pocket is equally as impressive, keeping it tucked in through the simple revelation of the hymn’s most recognizable melody at 3:46 and subsequently expanding into an impressive solo sequence. Playful passing of the spotlight back and forth between keys keeps things grooving along and leaves listeners feeling refreshed and revitalized. Really stellar work!

While believers will find themselves immediately connected to the hymn that inspired this jam, the musical passion of Elder Randall Ogans stands to mesmerize listeners from any background – especially those who appreciate skillful organ work and soulful Jazz inflections! Full of surprises and bound to improve any mood, Elder Randall Ogans’ take on “What A Friend” will have listeners of all kinds on the lookout for even more to come from the seasoned songsmith!

Jon Wright is a trained multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and music educator with nearly twenty years of experience in the field. Working with musicians and their individual sounds is his passion and profession, and he strives to interact with and understand every aspect of the production process – from theory and songwriting to recording and mastering. He continues to teach students of all ages and is currently collaborating with artists across a wide range of genres

Purchase the “What A Friend” CD here!