PRESS: Review, Easy Does It – Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia Inquirer Review
Reviewed by Karl Stark
Javon Jackson – Easy Does It
(Palmetto ***1/2)  

Saxophonist Javon Jackson plays funk with a slow hand. This former Jazz Messenger, among the last to contribute to that legacy, doesn’t beat matters to a froth but allows them to come to fruition in their own time. This approach to groove calls for the clear arrangements that focus the senses nicely on Jackson’s titillating tenor and Dr. Lonnie Smith’s snaky organ.

The band is full of sympathetic vibe-meisters, including guitarist Mark Whitfield, who heats up accompaniments with percussive shadings and performs a delicate duet with Jackson on the leader’s winsome “Diane.” Former James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley gurgles to good effect, and drummer Lenny White keeps everybody striding forward to a ramrod beat.

Much of this is a sassy throwback to the 1970s. “House Party” comes off as the musical equivalent of an Afro, with earthy vocals by Wesley and Eve Cornelious. A good funkin’ time is had by all.

 

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