Jackiem Joyner and his aptly titled Evolve showcase an artist hitting his stride.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
With Evolve, Jackiem Joyner elevates his game to the next level to stand along side some of the finest contemporary saxophone players and deservedly so. Sometimes the artistic evolution of an artist can be every bit as interesting as their music, here we have both. This is a Jackiem Joyner joint from start to finish as he wrote, produced and arranged all 11 songs. A textured organic quit that embraces a plethora of styles but with a lyrical synergy that pushes the sound to that new sound that the more traditional smooth jazz artists desperately need to showcase in an effort to elevate their craft for an audience that too is evolving, this is where Jackiem hits sonic gold.
Diversity is the key on this stellar release. "Generation Next" is an urban groove with a buoyant string section that adds a marvelous counterpoint to Joyner's melodic journey. "Europa" is a contemporary urban number with a cameo from Keiko Matsui that goes a surprisingly organic route. Going to the other end of the spectrum we have "Born To Fly" with a rock edged Linkin Park vibe with an harmonic progression on steroids approach while remaining oddly cinematic in nature. There is a flow with Evolve and ample opportunity for the listener to dial in to the lyrical roads less traveled by some artists while Joyner goes full steam ahead. "A Gentle Walk On The Water" is an exquisite piano / saxophone duet that further seals the creative deal that should Evolve as one of the top release for 2014.
This is the coming out party for Jackiem Joyner.
Tracks: Generation Next; Europa; Bouble Bass; Breathe; Evolve; Born To Fly; Interlude; Later Tonight; See Through Me; Big Step (Featuring Gerald Albright); A Gentle Walk On The Water.