For many years, 26 year old Joyner performed with gold-standard setting artists Ronnie Laws, keyboardist Marcus Johnson & Bobby Lyle, saxophonist Jaared and with singers Angela Bofill and Jean Carne. Joyner opened for Spyro Gyra, George Benson, Boney James, and India Arie before taking time for himself to gather his thoughts and strengths and come back with this debut album.
Opening his CD with his smooth and dreamy saxophone, textured by soft drum rhythm, "This Time Around," shows the influence of Najee. Guitar sounds of the southwest lead the listener into "Stay With Me Tonight" until joined by Joyner’s upbeat, flowing sax as he leans into interactive conversation reserved for the seasoned professional, which Joyner is.
Mysterious, challenging, upbeat, the title track "Baby Soul" has inflections of old-school beat and a touch of funk. Joyner swings on sax while the sound of violins add a deep texture to this jam. Ah.... rapturous keyboard, accompanied by upbeat sax and a kicky, funky percussion is so appropriate for "Just Groove."
Written for Joyner’s wife, "In Love Again" is layered and textured with brilliant mastery of Joyner’s smooth, sweet flute, his second instrument, sharing generous interplay between flute and sax. Slowing for an intimate interlude on "Say Yes," Joyner’s mild and mellow sax woos the listener into a romantic mood with stretching notes, soft background percussion and gentle keyboard.
Perking the tempo, "Share My Tears" is lightly funky, nicely ensembled. Taking the pace one step further, "Lola" turns up the heat as a Latin jam. A little brass, spirited keyboards accompany Joyner on the deep, mysterious "Unforgiven."
"Elevation" and "Innocence" give a satisfying, energetic close to the disc. Both offering plenty of variety, lots of spunk and a ‘just feels right’ composition.
After years of playing with the big guys, Jackiem Joyner has learned what he’s about in the music world, incorporating the best in his own music. Young, yet multi-talented, Joyner has a long and bright career in front of him. Baby Soul has all the ingredients a true professional provides in a hit album.