Jessy J--True Love

Here’s an interesting and romantic project, True Love, from the gorgeous Latina sax sensation, Jessy J.  With the stylish contributions from producer/guitarist Paul Brown (who actually produced this effort, as well as Tequila Moon) and keyboardist Gregg Karukas, among others, the artist has managed to lock into her rich Latin heritage for a light, airy, laid-back journey through the tropics and beyond. There are distinct differences between True Love and Tequila Moon, and I’m still deciding if I like this latest venture better—or even as much--as that debut wonder, but this project is replete with comfortable and pretty melodic passages and hooks, as well as sexy Latin vocals, that soothe and beckon and certainly take nothing away from this young lady with a host of gifts.

As is the saxophonist’s style, lots of Latin flavor race through this polished recording from the opening track, “Tropical Rain” to the hot finale, “Baila.” My favorites are many and certainly include the aforementioned “Baila” (in my opinion, this one is simply the most demanding when it comes to calling you to the dance floor) and the title track.  

Ah, the imagery conjured up throughout this release definitely involves beaches, exotic drinks, and late night sambas, cha-chas, salsas, and Brazilian grooves.  If you’re not there with someone, find someone. This is truly meant for two, unless you’re just in a reflective mood calling for complete solitude.

While I’m not floored by the Brazilian touch (sorry, that’s never seemed to grab me), I can say that, when one is pretty much “funked out,” this is where you might come for any number of “time-outs” offered here.  She also shows here, particularly on track 9, “Brazilian Dance,” that she knows her way around a sax in settings other than typical smooth jazz for example, and she demonstrates this with clever and classy runs and cool phrasings. 

True Love does an amazing job of making sure that the added emphasis on the Latin flavor, almost to the exclusion of all else, is fitting and capable of upholding her sudden and deserved rise in the world of smooth jazz.  While more laid-back than Tequila Moon, it loudly proclaims this Latina’s pride in her colorful and exotic culture.  A pride well placed. -- Ronald Jackson