“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 likeNow. As with his previous efforts for Palmetto Records, 2003’sEasy 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 rocked-out grind of “In the Sticks” to the mellow Brazilian vibe of the closing “I Remember You,” Jackson applies his robust sound to emphasize every note with a distinctive blend of edginess and clarity. On “Love Calls” and “Where is the Love,” Jackson relies on a leaner approach with Grover Washington Jr. overtones. The latter, a duet with vocalist Lisa Fischer on the classic R&B hit finds the saxophonist emulating Donny Hathaway’s sultry vocal style to match Fischer’s stunning take on Roberta Flack.” — All About Jazz