Justin Young – Blue Soul

Nov. 6, 2017

Saxophonist Justin Young’s new album, Blue Soul, is a neat package. It opens with “Always There,” which, at first listen, seems like it might be a steadily pulsing track but melts into a tingle of jingle bells and warm synth sweeps before Young’s horn rises through the mix and gets busy! This track beautifully highlights the warmth and delicacy that comes flooding through the rest of this album.

The second track, “Nothing But Love,” has a great horn section and choral backing that echoes a bit of that Earth, Wind and Fire vibe and frames Young’s delicate sax work and beautifully illuminates the chorus.

“Razzmajazz” continues this fine vein of light breezy intricate soulfulness, the breakdown and keyboard solo highlighting the impressive track.

The album takes a turn through the slow lanes for the next couple of tracks before getting a green light and taking off with the beautiful title track — a sensual, bouncy, bright little number that weaves and dances with some more sterling keyboard work from Noel Hall. Love the fade-out on this track where Young is given the space to improvise, and he does it beautifully, playing long, sinuous ribbons of melody over a softly shifting major/minor backdrop.

The Joyner & Young-penned Sorrento drips heat, palm trees, and whirling seagulls all over the place. This is a great track but just way too short!

Young is a time-served musician. He paid his way through college gigging through the weekend sometimes with his father’s band. His experiences taught him that being in a band is just like running a business! No good having the product if you can’t deliver. Well, Young delivers on this album.
“Sweet Release” and “India” are more examples of great product well-delivered. Both tracks are gently funky with a wistfulness that oozes out of Young’s sometimes “buzzy” tone.

One of the neat things about Young’s playing is the way he will toss time around. Playing on the offbeat in little staccato phrases one minute then effortlessly running a continuous smooth refrain over that same backbeat the next. The single, “High Definition,” from the album is a short, sweet, four-on-the-floor type number that Young drives home with elegance!

Quality work from a quality artist. Isn’t that all we’re seeking in the end? This is certainly an album to add to your collection – Steve Giarchardi