Javon Jackson Quartet
Javon Jackson – Tenor Saxophone
Jeremy Manasia – Piano
David William – Bass
Willie Jones III – Drums
A former member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers who also put in time with such jazz giants as Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Cedar Walton and Ron Carter, Javon Jackson keeps the fires burning for straight ahead jazz on his 20th release as a leader. “I’m a product of all that,” says the 53-year-old saxophonist-composer-educator. “I was raised in that experience of swinging, and that’s what I really have an appreciation for.”
Jackson shows his appreciation on For You, his 20th recording as a leader and third on his Solid Jackson Records. A collection of potent originals, one well chosen standard and some gems by his jazz elders, For You finds the estimable tenor man in the company of seasoned pianist Jeremy Manasia, stalwart bassist David Williams (a longtime member of the Cedar Walton Trio) and rising star drummer McClenty Hunter. Together they forge an indelible chemistry on two burning Jackson odes — “My Man Hubbard,” for the late, great trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and “88 Strong,” for pianist McCoy Tyner. Elsewhere on For You, Jackson and his copacetic crew strike a swinging accord on two Cedar Walton originals, “Simple Pleasure” and “Holy Land,” settle into an engaging relaxed vibe on Jerome Kern’s “I’m Old Fashioned” and reach some heightened peaks on “Mr. Sanders,” Jackson’s tribute to tenor sax titan Pharaoh Sanders.
Born on June 16, 1965 in Carthage, Missouri, Jackson was raised in Denver, Colorado and chose saxophone at the age of 10. At age 16 he switched from alto to tenor and later enrolled at the University of Denver before spending part of 1985–86 at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He left Berklee in 1986 to join Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, where he later played alongside pianist Benny Green, trumpeter Philip Harper, trombonist Robin Eubanks and bassist Peter Washington. Jackson remained a fixture in the Jazz Messengers until Blakey’s passing in 1990.