Javon Jackson: Good People

Art Blakey’s youngest tenor sax playing son has evidenced in recent recordings a desire to break free from the often stifling two-horn quintet straightahead hard bop mold. In this instance producer Craig Street has been enlisted, and bebop seems the farthest thing from his oeuvre. Mr. Jackson is a talent of forthright mind, and not a lump of raw clay, so exploring different directions is obviously his choice.

This chapter finds Javon’s big-boned, kudos-to-Joe Henderson-but-I’m-breaking-free-of-that-sound-to-find-my-own tenor saxophone in the company of notable organist John Medeski and guitarist Fareed Haque. Notable because they are the wildcards here, along with a couple of guest shots from rockin’ Vernon Reid. The exchange between Reid and Haque is particularly incendiary on Javon’s title track, though Jackson breaks on through decisively in that bit of fun. Elsewhere there are Latin elements (Santana’s “Flor De Canela”) and explorations of Coltrane (“Exotica”) and Tony Williams (his rarely played “Three-Alarm Emergency”).