By Michael Marsh
My continual search for new artists in smooth jazz has recently led me to a 26 year old sax player, hailing from right down the road in Detroit, Michigan. Justin Young’s debut CD, “On The Way”, released on the Justntime Records label, definitely announces his intentions of being a major player on the smooth jazz scene for many years to come. Young’s sax playing is certainly strong enough to stand on it’s own merit, but for those who need additional confirmation that this is a debut album from a youngster who should be taken very seriously, a glance at the names of those who assisted him on this project ought to let you know that Young is deserving of some serious attention. The CD project was mixed by guitarist/producer/arranger extraordinaire, Paul Brown, and was produced and arranged by Spyro Gyra pianist, Tom Schuman. Additionally, Gail Jhonson, better known as Norman Brown’s keyboardist, and Detroit guitarist, Tim Bowman, lend a hand on portions of the project. With well known smooth jazz names like that behind him, I think you get the idea that this is a newcomer who possesses some very special talent.
With “On The Way”, Young presents us with a delightful 12 song CD, that does an excellent job of displaying his musical versatility, as he alternates between tenor, alto, and soprano sax. Young is just as adept at laying down a funky, booty-shaking groove as he is at imparting a full range of beautiful musical colors into your mind with one of his soulful, romantic ballads. My two favorite jams on the CD are “A Minor Groove” and “JY Funky”, appearing at tracks 5 and 6. You will definitely not be able to keep your body still on either one of these grooves. “A Minor Groove” and “JY Funky” are by no means the only jams on the CD however. If you are of a mind to rock the house some more, you will definitely want to check out “Sunny”, “On The Way Here”, “New Day”, and the funky “Expressway 94”. You romantics out there will definitely want to give “Luv Handles”, “Hanna”, “Showers”, “Falling”, and “Just Her And I” a good listen. For those who like a latin flavor with your music, “Evening Dance” is the one for you. In that there is not one bad or weak song on this CD, I most definitely give “On The Way” 5 stars out of a possible 5. Your local record store may not have it, but it is readily available on the internet from Amazon.com or CDbaby.com. Be careful when ordering on the internet however, because there are two musical artists by the name of Justin Young. The other one is a guitarist/vocalist from Hawaii, and trust me, you don’t want that one.
Michael Marsh is the jazz reviewer for TNCP. To make contact, you may e-mail him at [email protected] for review.