javon jackson
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      From: Marc De Bruyn (emdebe@village.uunet.be)
Blue Note Records: "For his third album, A Look Within, Javon expanded the musical terrain he visited on its predecessor. Working again with producer Street, guitarist Haque and the rhythm section of Washington, Drummond and Baptista, Javon added legendary organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and, on a special guest appearance, Grammy-winning vocalist Cassandra Wilson. Apart from his intriguing original compositions, Jackson reworked tunes by Charles Mingus ('Peggy's Blue Skylight'), Frank Zappa ('Zoot Allures'), Brazilian guitarist and composer Egberto Gismonti ('Memoria e Fado') and more. 'There are all kinds of standards, not just jazz', Jackson said at the time of the album's release. 'There's pop, R&B, rock and blues standards. I wanted to test the waters. My goal was to make a recording that felt like it was recorded today but with yesterday's influence. And working with Craig leaves me open to investigate. He's open to anything if it comes off sonically and with honesty'.

"Javon Jackson is one of the best young tenor saxophonists to emerge in the last decade." - Bob Blumenthal, The Boston Globe.

"Coupling his considerable talents with plain hard work, this talented artist has offered stimulating, ear-pleasing musical statements with numerous jazz giants, as well as with his own ensembles" - Blue Note Records

 Jazz Track, Rick Marx (8/17/97) - Javon Jackson, A Look Within, Blue Note:

Wake up, America! Javon Jackson is speaking. This smokin' 32 year old Blakey alumnus, Joe Henderson disciple and group leader extends his promising oeuvre with the hard-swinging A Look Within. With a voice culled from Pharoah, J.C., and the aforementioned Mr. Henderson, Jackson's rippling harmonics combined with unadorned tenor sax chops harken back to the best of 60s jazz expression. The musician is joined by the guitarist Fareed Haqul, bassist Peter Washington, Billy Drummond on drums, Cyro Baptista on percusion, Dr. Lonnie Smith on  organ and a vocal by Cassandra Wilson on the Muddy Waters' tune, "Country Girl." Haqul's sitar like musings on "Assessment" and classical range on Memoria E Fado are followed by flashy bebop on Freddy Hubbard's "Leap Frog." Jackson follows Haqul's opening solo with a trip up and down the horn until he is matched by Drummond's swinging fours. Ultimately Jackson cooks in prime tenor fashion. And what more could Frank Zappa have ever asked for than to have Jackson wail on FZ's "Zoots Allures"?

JazzTimes, Sid Gribetz (12/20/96) - Javon Jackson - A Look Within: A Look Within is an overproduced album that offers little chance to focus on Jackson's otherwise impressive playing. The tenor saxophonist is brash and brawny and plays with a rich tone and sensitivity, but the date still leaves you looking for more. He plays music ranging from mainstream to Brazilian to postmodern, with a dash of Frank Zappa and Muddy Waters thrown in. The seemingly forced eclecticism omits any of the bite or soul that Jackson surely has in his live performances. The line-up includes Fareed Haque's guitars as the main accompanying instrument, but no special advantage is taken of the pianoless atmosphere. Dr. Lonnie Smith's organ is wasted on his two pieces, while a Cassandra Wilson vocal is included, out of place and unmoving on a Muddy Waters blues. Still, Jackson is a saxophonist worth hearing, and he gets a chance to shine and swing on the mainstream "Leap Frog" and a Mingus medley, and he blows sweetly on the Brazilian pieces.

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