They say it takes a village to build anything especially a great leader and Justin Young’s debut album On The Way is certainly proof positive of that statement. With a small fleet of talented musicians and producers contributing to these tracks, Justin Young has put together a succession of smooth jazz escapes that consume the listener with sweet sensations, warm brews, and satiny-soft ointments.
Whether for work or play, Justin Young’s album is suitable and satisfying. The complementing exchanges between Young’s saxophone and Gail Jhonson’s acoustic piano ligaments are earnestly telepathic on the final track "Just Her And I," configuring a sprightly conversational banter. Normally reviews do not begin with the final song on the album, but this track is so honest and representative of Young’s natural abilities to produce tight transitions and music margins espousing a feel good vibe that it deserves exceptional recognition.
Other tracks which take the listener along grand escapes are "Sunny," which has a steamy sensuality that feels like nighttime in Savannah, and "JY Funky," which is a continuum of upbeat riffs and rolling hip swaying movements that allow the rich verdant textures of Young’s saxophone sprawls to protract vividly. His voluptuous saxophone strokes on "Falling" turn into a syrupy slaver on "A Minor Groove" and rigorous celebratory quavers on "Everything Dance."
The songs make Young’s saxophone drools prevalent as the added musicians butter the base of the melodies with warm undertones like Paul Brown’s silky guitar inclines for "On The Way Here" and Tim Bowman’s tender guitar laces on "Hanna." The music has a quaint nimbleness and wavering that makes it seem so uncontrived between the midtempo and slow pulsed grooves. The delicate compresses on "Luv Handles" and "Showers" have a benevolent touch and gentle caresses that make them perfect for lovers, while the funky grooves and pulsating swells on dance tracks like "Expressway 94" and "New Day" have curvaceous rotations and smooth creases which transport the listener to another realm.
Mixed by Paul Brown and produced by Justin Young, Gail Jhonson, Tom Schuman, Rod Long, Wayne White and Noel Hall, the album is a collection of smooth jazz escapes. The music’s flow demonstrates natural indentations and pleasing swerves without seeming formulaic or pushed on the listener. The rotating riffs and tight transitions make the songs efficient and their point immediate. The songs unfurl by the first bar and keep the listener strapped in until the final cut.