Journeyman, the debut album by composer and multi-instrumentalist Terrance L. Robinson, is a true source of comfort in any household. There is so much promise in this deliverer of love to inspire people’s hearts to open up that his music should be recommended for people who require emotional mending. Terrance describes his music as smooth jazz, but it is much more complex than that with aspects of contemporary jazz, soft R&B and Christian music. His songs display a tender touch and exude of ephemeral beauty.
Whether taking a long drive, at a gathering with family and friends, or being home alone with your thoughts, Journeyman proves to be a healing emollient for the soul and places a loving force shield around you under any circumstances. Its attuning qualities give you a sense that if you are with the music, you are in a place made of bliss. It puts you in another zone away from hate, anger and fighting where inner peace reigns. Robinson’s debut record is in a class of its own while sharing disciplines relatable to jazz masonries like Walter Beasley and Tim Cunningham. It is an album for all occasions and yet very personalized for each individual by touching people where they need it most and making what ails them emotionally to vanish.
The album fences in a smooth jazz calm reinforced by composites of contemporary jazz and increments of soft R&B like on the title track. Robinson’s use of frolicking piano keys, digital beats and sprightly synth samplers is well suited, never overdoing its beading with the digital leanings and keeping the organic quality of the piano at a potent level. The notes have nice clarity even when Robinson abruptly ends "Unconditional" and then slides into "One On One," which presents movements with a crisp tone as the lustrous background vocals of Mona Lucas move in and out of the melodic phrases with the ease of a balmy breeze.
Some of the music has daydreaming tendencies like "Everything To Me," which causes one’s mind to drift along the mild rolling surfs. The music definitely takes over your senses and brings you to places that put you at ease with your surroundings and soul. Robinson’s music lets you enjoy being with yourself and your thoughts and makes everything feel good. The scaling piano notes on "Reflections Of You" are almost conversational like they are speaking to you, understanding the internal feelings you are grappling with, but don’t know how to make peace with them. It is the way Robinson moves through the progressions that denotes this image in the music score.
Robinson’s compositions show a deep perception for emotions that makes his music much more than mere entertainment. The universal impact which his songs potentially have goes beyond artistic grace and can be measured on a human level of understanding and love of life. As a listener, you have to wonder how he can go 17 songs into the album and still be inspired by the power of love. He never hits a sour hit or loses faith in love.
One would believe that he is impervious to disappointments and tragic losses. Profoundly, he shows the ability to turn the negative around into something positive. The soft R&B grooves on "None Like U" have a soul voicing that transcribes a raw emotion which can easily be burned by love’s flame if turned against itself, but Robinson’s music never turns against love. In this way, his album is ideal for Christian music with a jazzy instep. Recording artists like Pat Metheny and the Black Eyed Peas Will.i.am say that they have to write hundreds of songs before they get to the ones they want, but with Robinson all of his songs have the same message and never stray off their course and ironically never go stale delivering the same message of love.
Robinson tells in his letter to Jazzreview.com’s editor Morrice Blackwell that he considers "This first project a success," though he sounds like he means this from a commercial prospective. He alludes, in the letter, to making "one mistake" which I obviously have overlooked which means that listeners are copasetic with whatever flaw is on the album. Every debut album is a success to the artist who is making it. It means they finished what they have started and mustered the courage to open it to public scrutiny and for Terrance L. Robinson, he has not only opened himself up as a recording artist, but also as the producer of this album, with executive producer Kevin Davis at his side, and as the label owner of Agape Records, which released this disc. He takes on more than one pair of shoulders can bear but his sources of strength might come from his manager Pastor B.D. Robinson and his stylist and wife Kim Robinson. The blessings on this album make it a successful project alone.