Javon Jackson

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Burnin' Review

by Greg Turner

Recorded four days after his debut as a leader, tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson's second Criss Cross release is the '90s equivalent of a blowing session. The Berklee College of Music graduate is joined by one of his former teachers, tenor saxophonist Billy Pierce, along with pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Louis Hayes, to play three originals (two of them by Jackson), three jazz originals, and one standard. Jackson and Pierce play together on five of the seven selections, the other two are ballad features for each saxophonist. Both played in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers during the 1980s and also in the groups of other great drummers after Blakey: Jackson with Hayes and Elvin Jones, Pierce with Tony Williams. Jackson has the bigger sound, Pierce has the more aggressive attack, and the first-rate rhythm section keeps the proceedings heated. Favorites include Jackson's "So the Story Goes" and "Not Yet," Dexter Gordon's "Dolo," and Joe Henderson's "Homestretch," all up-tempo and, as the CD's title says, burnin'. This is recommended set of "tenor madness" from two of the instrument's best-known practitioners.

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