As a writer covering jazz music it is extremely gratifying to witness the development of young artists, individuals that grab your attention from the moment they hit center stage. You take note of their achievements, awards they’ve won, the new music they introduce to the listening public, and when or if they top the music charts. One of those young artists I’ve kept my eye on over the years is saxophonist, flautist, composer/producer, Jackiem Joyner.
Joyner debuted in 2007 and was named Debut Artist of the Year for his first offering, Babysoul. His sophomore set, Lil’ Man Soul, spawned a pair of No. 1 Billboard singles, including I’m Waiting For You, which won Song of the Year honors at the 2009 Smooth Jazz Awards. The momentum continued even before he reached the age of 30 when two singles from his self-titled third album shot up to No. 2 and No. 3 on Billboard. Switching gears, Joyner embraced his church roots in 2012 with the gospel jazz record, Church Boy.
Evolve is the name of the game in 2014 for Joyner, an 11 track gem written, produced by the sax-man featuring collaborations with multiple Grammy-nominated saxophonist, Gerald Albright and internationally renowned keyboardist Keiko Matsui. Word on the street, Joyner has always had the knack for crafting catchy R&B-pop melodies. His skillful touch with sweet as honey harmonies remains. What changed? He added inventive rhythms, layered sounds creating aural pictures, and off-the-chain-riffs ridding out on, in front of, and beneath his skillful horn play.
Jackiem Joyner never pumped his brakes when it came to his music and that tradition continues with his fifth album ~ Evolve ~ scheduled to be released April 29th. With Evolve Joyner expands the boundaries of urban contemporary jazz as well as tap into a natural, a more authentic “Jackiem Joyner” sound. Do I have a favorite track? No, I am a fan of them all.
Evolve boldly states Babysoul is a big boy now. Jackiem Joyner has evolved and is a force to be reckoned with. Welcome to his new world. Highly Recommended. ~ ABYSSJazz
The first cut from Evolve going to radio is Generation Next, a musical declaration from Joyner that the next generation of jazz artists is here to stay. You can view a live performance clip of the single to get a taste of how Joyner mixes and matches jazz, R&B and instrumental pop with searing rock guitar.