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We Four at Dazzle

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We Four Dazzle Denver, CO October 21, 2017 The majority of Twentieth Century jazz was represented on stage at Dazzle Saturday night. Either the players were there, in person, or they were merely one degree of separation from the key action and the dominant personalities. History lessons can be nice, but jazz is a performing art and it's what's happening on stage right now that counts. There was no problem in that department because the ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Javon Jackson: Pleasant Valley – 1999

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If the iconic sound of Blue Note Records could be summed up in just one band, it would surely be Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. For 35 years--1955 to 1990--the Messengers were the heart and soul of hard bop, on Blue Note and other labels. But what happened when Blakey died in 1990? Where did the music and the musicians go after that? For decades, Blakey trained a Who's Who of young jazz royalty. Many became legends. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Javon Jackson: Now

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As a member of drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson learned what it takes to create good music. One of the most influential teachers for several generations, Blakey stressed the importance of finding your groove and sticking to it. He demanded that each of his Messengers step up and take the bull by the horns in order to remain strong. The formula worked wonders for successive Jazz Messengers from the 1950s until Blakey's passing in October 1990. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Javon Jackson: Now

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Audiences who first came to know Javon Jackson through his recordings for Criss Cross and Blue Note shouldn't be the least bit surprised when the Joe Henderson-inspired tenor saxophonist, who first came to prominence with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, releases a commercially conscious disc like Now. As with his previous efforts for Palmetto Records, 2003's Easy Does It and 2005's Have You Heard, Now focuses on listener-friendly grooves while emphasizing the strengths of the top-tier musicians involved.

From the opening ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Javon Jackson: Have You Heard

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Continuing down the path he laid with '03's Easy Does It, tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson's latest, Have You Heard, is another groove-happy release that turns away from his earlier straight-ahead discs on Criss Cross and Blue Note, moving even further towards a soulful, funky vibe with greater crossover appeal. Lightweight it may be, but it's also a lot of fun and, if assessed on its own merits, successful in an easy-on-the-ears kind of way.

Back from Easy Does It are ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Javon Jackson: Easy Does It

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Javon Jackson’s band on Easy Does It is not unlike the Wayne Shorter-Curtis Fuller Jazz Messengers... both boast superb lineups, but only Jackson and his band are steeped in the 21st Century Groove. Mr. Jackson’s previous five recordings for Blue Note established him as fresh new voice in jazz, unafraid of stirring things up a bit. He took that attitude and shot it at light-speed into the Palmetto studios to produce a funk masterpiece.

Mr. Jackson has chosen the right ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Javon Jackson, et al. / Joanne Brackeen: Thank You, Joe! / Popsicle Illusion

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Several Arkadia discs have made their way to my desk and two releases have finally floated to the top for my attention. Two very fine releases, I might add.

Joe Henderson. Continuing their Grammy(r)-nominated Thank You... series, Arkadia serves up a tribute to the very much alive and recording Joe Henderson. Past Thank You... recordings have highlighted deceased artists and include Thank You, Duke (Duke Ellington, 70003), Thank You, John (John Coltrane, 70002) and Thank You, Gerry (Gerry Mulligan, 71191). ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Javon Jackson: Pleasant Valley

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Having been tutored in Art Blakey's school of hard bop, it comes as no surprise that Javon Jackson's first albums as a leader were steeped in that idiom. Pleasant Valley, his fifth effort for Blue Note, departs slightly from the hard bop genre and heads into “grooveland." Working with guitarist Dave Stryker, organist Larry Goldings and drummer Billy Drummond, Pleasant Valley recalls the soul-jazz of many a classic organ combo. Unexpectedly, the CD opens with a rather low-key rendition of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Javon Jackson: Pleasant Valley

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A solid, dependable and mild-mannered saxophonist, Javon Jackson studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for several years before joining Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. The saxophonist’s niche in today’s jazz world is filled with solid mainstream vibrations and a caressing respect for the instrument. Jackson’s approach is a bit laid-back, his tone is true, and his articulation serves him well. At 33, the saxophonist is in a position to either branch out or to focus more on that ...


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