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From its earliest roots in African American spirituals and traditional black worship styles to a cappella Gospel quartets to the development of choral renditions of classic spirituals, contemporary Gospel music has continued to evolve. Songwriter, pianist, singer, arranger Richard Smallwood has played a major role in developing an innovative gospel sound with vocal arrangements that integrate Euroclassical and jazz elements with traditional gospel styles.


Originally published in Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, 5 Volumes, edited by George Thomas Kurian and Mark A. Lamport, 2016, pg. 2131-2132, reproduced by permission of Rowman & Littlefield.

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