THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE
Jackiem Joyner--Jackiem Joyner

Witnessing the maturation of Jackiem Joyner is like watching an action-packed movie that has several sequels.  You’re always looking forward to the next installment. In Joyner’s case, he has yet to disappoint. Here with his third installment, a self-titled effort, he shows that maturity can either be a slow, drawn-out process or something that comes at breakneck speed.  His is obviously the latter. First, there was Babysoul, his debut and our introduction to this marvelous talent. That started the fire. Then came Lil Man Soul, and the fire started to rise to the sky. Now, with this self-titled release, the fire is full-blown and climbing toward the heavens, as the saxophonist takes his sweet melodies and driving rhythms to yet another level, with bold funkiness and deep-seated soul grooves. As with its predecessors, the album is completely written and produced by Joyner, save a few covers.

About this latest beautiful brainchild of his, he states, “The whole record is about writing and making the type of record that I wanted to make. It’s me putting whatever I want on the album. I’m happy working with Mack Avenue because they gave me complete freedom to create. You can really hear me right upfront and my music. My first two albums were titled after my nicknames, but now it’s just me front and center for the entire world to see, which is why I decided to go with a self-titled album.” A very wise choice, indeed. While Joyner has also enjoyed success and exposure serving as a sideman, especially for the renowned Keiko Matsui, it certainly serves him and the smooth jazz world well that he continues to push himself out front with efforts like this one and continues to allow the world to gaze upon his brilliance.

Kicking off this album with a bold in-your-face dance funkster called “The Reunion,” you just know that this is going to be a party.  Having been presented with the gift of his own family reunion (being reunited with his dad and two older sisters whom he hadn’t seen since he was 7), this track echoes the happiness and the emotion of that very first moment when his family reconnected with him, courtesy of his wife’s successful research on the internet). Can’t you just feel that even now? What a thrill that must have been, and it’s conveyed very well here.  He then moves into a Latin-tinged piece, “Dance With Me,” that mixes in some modern day dance rhythms for an interesting hybrid taste. On this (perhaps my fav, by the way) and other tracks, Joyner plays far more than the sax. In fact, on “Dance With Me” (with the exception of a brief but sultry acoustic guitar riff from Katya Matsuno) and “Home, he plays everything.

On the track, “Back Together Again” (obviously, another celebratory reference to his family), he showcases a deep bass line, probably subconsciously influenced by the fact that his father played bass. Then, there’s his tribute to the King of Pop with a rousing cover of “Off The Wall.” Lots of energy, but what else would you expect in such a tribute? Another cover surfaces as he gives a nod to the wonderful Aerosmith tune “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing.” Joyner does the piece such justice with deep, soulful sax that works you to your soul.

This man and this CD provide me with so much about which to write, as I truly get excited over the steady progression to the skies that Jackiem Joyner exhibits time and again. Suffice it to say that he has arrived…for the third time.  --  Ronald Jackson

As of this posting, Amazon had not made available the mp3 music sampler for this CD. As soon as it becomes available, we will provide it.