This young man who was initially a Marcus Johnson find as the top saxman for Johnson’s Three Keys label artists has finally come into his own on the Richard Elliot-Rick Braun new ARTizen label and has come in like a raging storm, full of excitement, flame, and readiness. He explodes on the scene with Babysoul in a way that demands the attention of not only smooth jazz fans everywhere, but of his esteemed peers as well.
Joyner, who, by the way, plays every instrument on the album, except where noted otherwise (and those noted places are few), gets a little help from a couple of those esteemed and admiring peers. Rick Braun appears on several tunes, and Peter White strums away on "Stay With Me Tonight." Joyner has a pace that steadies the whole of his music and all the pieces involved. There’s a deliberate and measured approach to each piece, the notes delivered with sharp intent, meant to ensure that every listener catches each note precisely. Nowhere is that more evident to me than on the title track, where his intense sax strives to deliver the crisp message that "I mean to be heard and understood." That cut just happens to be one of my favorites, by the way.
"In Love Again," with its well-defined hook, "Just Groove," and "Elevation" all definitely spark the engine. Then, there are the slower, softer, mellower selections that make their special mark here, as well. "Share My Tears" places one at the candlelit dinner table with one’s love, staring into each other’s eyes as truths and hearts are unveiled. This is definitely the piece you want as the backdrop for that scene. It’s the piece that can help place "yes" on the lips of your lover in the midst of your proposal. Oh yes, it has that kind of impact! Some of that good ol’ slow, soulful Richard Elliot flavor. It’s another of my favorites.... or can’t you tell? "Unforgiven" and the above-mentioned "Stay With Me Tonight" are two other mesmerizing offerings.
Jackiem Joyner has much more than potential. He has guarantee. The ARTizen Music Group has dealt itself a straight flush with the addition of this quality musician, and we all win.