Personnel: Javon Jackson, tenor; Fred Wesley, trombone; Mark Whitfield, guitar; Dr. Lonnie Smith, organ; Lenny White, drums
Javon Jackson's sleek homage to "old school" funk is superbly conceived and executed by an impressive collection of groove masters. It purrs and growls along like a muscle car looking for its next conquest. Chrome shining, top down with a low idle that promises a burst of lithe power to come, its sure to be a hit on the strip.
There is an interesting stylistic dichotomy in the interplay between the two horns. Jackson's tenor is clean and engaging, spinning thoughtful and soulful lines. Fred Wesley's spitting and guttural trombone punches and prods its way through solo and call-and-response sections providing Jackson an effective foil. Their composite sound fits this album and its concept perfectly.
The issues I have with the album are few and minute. Jackson's a cappella opening to "Right On" was technically flawless, but I kept waiting for a growl or scream of passion before he waved in the rhythm section. The rhythm section, while rock solid and providing an immovable mantel from which the soloists can launch themselves, sometimes seem somewhat stuck in idle when musical situations cry for them to stretch out. A highlight for me was the beautiful and sensitive treatment of "Diane," a Jackson / Whitfield duet allowing both musicians more freedom of expression.
Javon Jackson has created a well crafted and enjoyable album.
by Stan Bann
New Sounds - December 2003/January 2004 CD Reviews