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Drummer and vocalist Jimmy "Junebug Jackson steps out from the shadow of his former employer, Jimmy Smith, to pay tribute to two other legends, Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson, on this recording. In particular, On My Way Home salutes the eponymous duet album Adderley and Wilson cut together in 1961.
As is fitting for an homage to Adderley, this music has a warm and gracious feel that emulates the spirit of its inspiration. Jackson is a sterling drummer, as his work on "Unit 7 attests. He skilfully blends rolling fills with pointed and eloquent interjections. As a vocalist, Jackson is warm and conversational. He gives a fine reading of the moody "The Old Country, and his distinctive, nasal vocals accentuate the shaggy dog tale "On My Way Home. His approach to singing is very much to blend in with the other instruments until he becomes an integral part of the band and not simply a featured attraction.
His bandmates distinguish themselves throughout. In particular, bassist George Sessems provides a sure pulse, along with surprising and pithy statements. Sessems provides a fine solo on the strutting "Never Say Yes.
The closing track is a smooth take of "Save Your Love For Me, recorded live at the Tokyo Blue Note, featuring the late Jimmy Smith. At its heart it is an affectionate duet between Jackson's voice and Smith's always soulful organ. On My Way Home is a winning debut and a worthy tribute to Wilson, Adderley and Smith.
Track Listing: Teaneck; J. Lude; The Old Country; Unit 7; Never Say Yes; On My Way Home; Never Will I
Marry; The Masquerade Is Over; Little Unhappy Boy; Save Your Love For Me.
Personnel: Jimmy Junebug Jackson: drums, percussion, vocals; William Knowles: keyboards (1-9);
Jimmy Smith: organ (10); George Sessems: bass (1-9); Jonathan Woods: bass (10); Badera
"Badou" Smith: guitar (1-9); Mark Whitefield: guitar (10); Alisa Anderson: vocals (track 8);
Jimmy "Lloyd" Brown: trombone, alto sax (1,7); Charles "Hakeem" Marshall: tenor sax (1,7);
Herman Riley: tenor sax (10); Gregory "GC" Coleman: shakers (1); Rod Smith: flute (1); Jim
Bowing: trumpet, flugelhorn (1,6,7).
I love jazz because it is a pure American music and can be expressed in different ways depending upon the artist.
I was first exposed to jazz while as a teenager I listened to Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong, on a jazz
radio station in New York City.