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 Ellington's serene ballad Sun Swept Sunday, but the pace quickly picks up with Jackson's original title tune. Complete with Goldings' swirling organ sounds, Stryker's wah-wah guitar and Drummond's muscular rhythms, it's a curious blend of bop and psychedelia. Sounding less like Joe Henderson and more like Gene Ammons, Jackson interprets a couple of pop tunes including Stevie Wonder's Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing and Al Green's classic Love And Happiness. While these covers may garner Jackson some "smooth jazz" airplay, they do little to test his considerable talents. ***
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.