Sunday, March 16, 2014

Javon Jackson Expression Smoke Sessions 2014

The utility infielder of tenor players turns in a solid performance.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
 
Everyone wants to be a star...Not everyone can so is Javon Jackson a leader or one of the very best session players in the business? I'll leave that for you to decide. Expression is the latest offering from Javon and might be best described as strange. The rhythm section of Orrin Evans on piano along with Corcoran Holt on bass and McClenty Hunter on drums is stellar. The groove is tight and the flow is happening but...they occasionally seem handcuffed by some covers that come in dead on arrival.
 
Some pop tunes can make the transition to an improvisational setting, some can not. Let's bang out the negatives first as "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" as well as "When I Fall In Love" and "Where Is The Love" are somewhat predictable covers that one could hear in most hotel lounges. The notable exception is the blues infused playing of pianist Orrin Evans on "When I Fall In Love." The Wayne Shorter opener of "One By One" wets the appetite for what should promise to be a gourmet meal yet the rest of the set simply doesn't deliver.
 
Bad? No way...Better than average but nothing memorable. If the rhythm section significantly outshines the leader then,  "Houston we have a problem." Straight ahead jazz for dummies would be insulting yet this live set is rather basic. Better than average but nothing you may remember after the first few spins.
 
3.5 Stars
 
Tracks: One By One; Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing; T.J.; When I Fall In Love; Think On Me; Mr. Taylor; Where Is The Love; Lelia; Richard's R.A.P; 88 Strong.