Jessy J's fifth studio album, 2013's Second Chances, features more of the saxophonist/vocalist's contemporary R&B- and Latin pop-influenced smooth jazz. Moving from Heads Up to the Shanachie label, J -- who also co-produced and arranged many of the tracks on Second Chances -- focuses primarily this time out on her own original compositions. She does, however, turn in a funky cover of Brazilian icon Carlinhos Brown's "Magalenha," as well as soul legend Roberta Flack and Eugene McDaniels' "Feel Like Makin' Love," on which J showcases her breathy, romantic vocal chops. With her warm saxophone sound, lithe improvisational ability, and cross-genre approach, it's no wonder that J is a rising star on the international music scene appealing to both smooth jazz and Latin audiences. And while the spotlight shines the brightest on J on Second Chances, she has garnered a high-enough profile to draw some top-notch guest artists to appear on her albums. Last time, on 2011's Hot Sauce, J brought in jazz-funk titan Joe Sample and singer Ray Parker, Jr. On Second Chances, J is also joined by a handful stellar guest artists including keyboardist Jeff Lorber who joins her on several cuts that he also co-produced. Also adding his tasty stylings to the album is guitarist Norman Brown, who appears on the title track. Similarly, bassist Jimmy Haslip and keyboardist/vocalist Johnny Britt (who also co-wrote the title track with J) bring a positive energy to the proceedings. One couldn't hope for a better showcase for Jessy J's talent and Second Chances makes a great first impression.
Second Chances Review
by Matt Collar