Javon Jackson – Have You Heard – Palmetto Records

by | Aug 4, 2005 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Javon Jackson, tenor sax – Have You Heard; Palmetto Records CD ***1/2: 

I’m not up on many of the newer players on the scene, but I have
definitely heard of Jackson.  On this record he teams up with some
talented players including the legendary Dr. Lonnie Smith on
organ!  Jackson’s horn is soulful, warm, sweet, and just swirls
through each song effortlessly.  Although most of the material is
quite good, I have a problem with the vocals on track two.  They
sound if they belong to a group singing backup at an R&B show at
the Playboy Jazz Festival.  This in itself isn’t bad, but it is
disruptive to the flow of the music, and otherwise would be a solid
tune.  Track four is the opposite.  On this track the rich
female vocals make this track what it is—a blues track that swings nice
and easy.

Most of the jazz is straightahead and just when it starts to look like
it may get too much like fusion it veers back towards a classic jazz or
70s funk sound.  This is only to be expected with the great Dr.
Smith in the band.  In fact, track five is named for him. 
Another track that doesn’t quite do it is the infamous
“Summertime.”  It just seems too laid back to really capture the
essence of the tune.  Other cover tunes like “Move On Up” are
handled much better and although this version is a unique
interpretation, it’s a nice rendition.  With a little better
selection with some of the material and more passion this album would
be amazing.  As it stands it’s mellow and relaxing for the most
part, groovy at times, and highly enjoyable.  The recording
quality is like much jazz recorded today—in other words, hard to
complain about, so if you’re into the newer stuff (but with an older
feel) you’ll be sure to like it.  Songs included are:  In
This Corner; Dance Floor; Have You Heard; Breakin’ Up Somebody’s Home;
Dr Smith; Summertime; Move On Up; Quik; That’s The Way I Feel About
Cha’; Funky In Here (Reprise).

-Brian Bloom

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