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Javon Jackson: Now

Not quite “smooth jazz,” but pretty easy listening nonetheless, tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson’s Now recalls the 1970s heyday of producer Creed Taylor’s CTI label, when Taylor put an R&B or funk-pop sheen on recordings by some of the top jazz musicians of the day, aiming for a wider audience through emphasizing groove and melodic content. Jackson’s playing here is in the same vein as that of Stanley Turrentine or Grover Washington Jr.’s recordings for CTI. Another star of the label, Ralph MacDonald, is represented by his most famous composition, “Where Is the Love,” replete with vocal embellishments by Lisa Fischer echoing Roberta Flack’s hit recording.

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