Main Street Beat Jackiem Joyner
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- 1Main Street04:33
- 2Back to Motown04:33
- 3Can't Stop the Feeling04:14
- 5When You Smile04:01
- 6Southside Boulevard04:04
- 7That Good Thing03:38
- 10Don't Make Her Wait03:39
- 11Get Down Street04:59
Info for Main Street Beat
Delivering on his promise to “Evolve,” the title of Jackiem Joyner’s last soul-jazz album, the saxophonist became a father since his 2014 release, an elation-inducing experience that informs the music he wrote and produced for his new Artistry Music set, “Main Street Beat,” due June 30. The first single from the funky, dance inspiring, Motown-influenced session that will be shipped to radio this month is the exultant “Trinity,” named for Joyner’s first child whose presence on the track is voiced by Steve Oliver’s incandescent acoustic guitar.
Joyner approached crafting “Main Street Beat” with a three-pronged purpose. “I wanted to create something upbeat, fun to listen to and something to dance to. ‘Main Street Beat’ originally started off as a straight funk record that eventually became some of that, but a whole lot more as I allowed the creative process to have its way with me,” said Joyner, a Billboard chart-topper who plays tenor, alto, soprano and baritone saxophone on the date, often enriching the tracks by laying layer upon layer of horns to form a powerhouse sax section.
The exuberant album opener, “Main Street,” exemplifies the mighty wall-of-horns approach with Joyner playing lead harmonies on alto reinforced by his sax section. Instead of tracking individually, Joyner brought the band – drummer Raymond Johnson, bassist Darryl Williams, electric guitarist Kyle Bolden and piano player Carnell Harrell – into the studio to record six tracks old-school style, including “Back To Motown.” Nick Colionne guests on “When You Smile” to flash his cool electric jazz guitar on the infectious mid-tempo R&B cut. Taking his alto sax chops out for a strut, Joyner cranks up the band for a fiery funk romp down “Southside Boulevard,” one of three tunes that adds Nikolai Egorov’s trombone muscle to the horn section. On a pair of urban joints – “That Good Thing” and “Don’t Make Her Wait” – Joyner plays soprano sax. He takes full command on the stormy “Addicted,” playing every instrument heard on the moody number. “Think James Brown on tenor sax” is how Joyner describes the super funky “Get Down Street.” A pair of high-energy pop-R&B covers – Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling” and Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” – complete the outing, songs Joyner elected to record based upon their buoyant, positive nature, which he says mirrors his young offspring’s personality.
“My little girl played a huge role in inspiring this album. Having Trinity around during the writing process sparked an enormous font of creativity and really kicked my writing into high gear. The first single, named after her, really captures the excitement and joy of being a dad as well as the exciting little girl that she is. Trinity was right there in the studio during a lot of the writing process. Her jumpy and bouncy upbeat little self is really reflected on this album,” said Joyner, who will launch the record with June concerts in Cincinnati (June 9 at A Celebration of Black Music), Birmingham (June 11 at Jazz in the Park), San Diego (June 25 at Mediterranean’s Jazz and Supper Club) and Philadelphia (June 29 at South).
The release of “Main Street Beat,” Joyner’s sixth album, coincides with his tenth anniversary as a recording artist. His 2007 debut “Babysoul” earned Debut Artist of the Year honors from Smooth Jazz News. Two years later, his sophomore set, “Lil Man Soul,” spawned two No. 1 singles on the Billboard chart and won the Song of the Year trophy for “I’m Waiting For You” from the American Smooth Jazz Awards. His self-titled 2010 album solidified his position as a consistent hit-maker. Revisiting his non-secular roots, Joyner issued the gospel-jazz “Church Boy” in 2012. “Evolve” placed his infectious melodies amidst futuristic electronic sonicscapes. Joyner’s music isn’t his only creative effort that ventured into extraterrestrial territory. Last year, the Norfolk, Virginia native who resides near Los Angeles authored his first book, the science fiction novel “Zarya: Cydnus Final Hope (Book 1).
"A summer soundtrack, top down, country driving, playing lead harmonies on alto reinforced by his exuberant sax section work has culminated in Main Street Beat being one of the best albums of 2017." - Exclusive Magazine
"To say this saxman has done it again is an understatement. His massive growth is, in and of itself, a work of art; a true form of musical poetry in motion." - The Smooth Jazz Ride
"He ups the ante to make this set something you don't just listen to in the background. Zippy, zesty and packing real punch, this is the kind of muscular sax playing that you can only find deep in the pocket. A winning set throughout." - Midwest Record
"A funky and swinging album!" - Keys & Chords
"With justifiable pride, Father Jackiem announces the birth of his daughter Trinity and lets us participate in the joy with the new album ‘Main Street Beat.'" - Sonic Soul Reviews
"Jackiem Joyner's Main Street Beat is creative, real, and organic as smooth jazz should be." - Smooth Jazz Daily
“Music evolves, including jazz. All types of sound evolve. So do people and our imaginations. That is what I tried to put on tape. Evolve captures the changes in my musical mind and how I have evolved as an artist,” explains award-winning saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Jackiem Joyner about his fifth album and first collection on which he wrote, produced and arranged all 11 songs.
Juxtaposing invigorating otherworldly sonic-scapes under gentle sax melodies, Evolve is a dynamic, highly rhythmic session that is unpredictable laced with traces of the familiar. Listening will take you to a different place while defining Joyner as a musician and a writer beyond what they’ve already heard from the chart-topping rhythm and groove guy. The imaginative new set has a greater purpose.
“Rather than fitting in with the traditional, I’m bringing the audience along with songs that unfold over different and interesting soundscapes even as I move towards a live organic sound. The songs are very true to me and who I am as an evolving artist. It’s very me and maybe it’s okay to be you sometimes. Jazz audiences want something new and original from me and I think my audience will really appreciate and enjoy Evolve,” says Joyner, who plays most of the instruments on the record along with spotlight duets with two-time Grammy® nominated saxophonist Gerald Albright and keyboardist Keiko Matsui. Joyner’s touring band—guitarist Kayta Matsuno, bassist Tim Bailey, keyboardist Bill Steinway and drummer Raymond Johnson—collaborates on a few cuts.
Joyner gets straight to the point with the adventurous opener, “Generation Next.” An urban-pop track with vibrant strings provides a contrasting backdrop for Joyner’s melodic sax play. “It makes for an interesting combination. ‘Generation Next’ is a declaration that the next generation of jazz musicians is here to stay.”
A live drum feel and prominent thumping slap bass line make “Europa” a hip mid-tempo urban trip worth taking. Joyner’s soprano sax tone is soft as are the evocative etchings emoted by Matsui’s keyboard. “I wrote ‘Europa’ with Keiko in mind. The song follows a very structured pattern—organic R&B actually. It’s a new vibe for her sound,” shares Joyner, who often tours as a member of Matsui’s band when not playing his own dates.
Simultaneous bass tracks run throughout the aptly titled “Double Bass”—one played by Bailey and the other programmed by Joyner—digging a complex bass and drum groove. Upfront, Joyner plays layers of meandering sax forming an untraditional harmony that feels improvisational.
Tracked live in the studio with the full band, Joyner says “Breathe” isn’t easy to play. “There’s a lot of emotion in my playing, and the alto sax parts are technical and very emotional. I composed the song in my head for months, but in the studio the track really opened up. It’s very unpredictable.” Trombonist Paul Nowell and trumpeter iLya Serov join Joyner on the horn section parts, adding majestic qualities to the sweeping melody that simmers on slow cook before erupting into a cascading crescendo.
An uplifting space age exploration orbited by jagged riffs of guitar distortion, Joyner’s soulful lead and horn section sax sets the tone providing a lifeline by maintaining his signature sound on the motivational “Evolve.” “Born To Fly” takes flight propelled by an empowering anthem-like chorus boosted by aggressive rock guitar licks and turntable scratches. “It’s got a contemporary feel that was inspired by the band Linkin Park. The dramatic chords are frequently used in film and TV scores, but not usually used with sax,” admits Joyner, who would like to venture into film scoring.
A short R&B interlude serves as a palate cleanser to set the stage for what’s to come in the second half of the album. “My writing process is very psychological and there is a lot of psychology on this record. The interlude allows listeners to adjust to the new tempo—a new vibe.”
Perhaps the song that follows the most traditional pattern on the disc, “Later Tonight,” is a sweet urban ballad with a soothing melody. “It has a nighttime grown-and-sexy R&B vibe.”
Anchored by a military snare drum, tension mounts on the sparsely produced “See Through Me,” which feels like floating weightless in space. Joyner’s tender sax plays softly, the emotion accentuated by swatches of strings. “This song explains me without words. It demonstrates my softer side in contrast to the aggressive live performer. The song is cinematic with strings that build tension and emotion. It’s very positive and uplifting.”
Joyner wrote “Big Step,” another track that was recorded live in the studio, while at rehearsal with his band. “A lot of this record was written while I was doing non-musical things. While I’m not paying attention, the song is coming together,” offers Joyner. The highlight of the bumping R&B joint is the saxophone discourse between Joyner and Albright. “Gerald has been one of my idols since I was in high school so playing with him was a blast. We played together and alternated with Gerald playing the low notes on tenor and I played the high notes on alto.”
Joyner makes his concluding statement on the expressive “A Gentle Walk On Water,” a heartfelt sax and piano piece. A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Joyner inked his first record deal after being discovered by contemporary jazz stars Rick Braun and Richard Elliot. The 2007 debut disc, Babysoul, earned Joyner Debut Artist of the Year honors from Smooth Jazz News. Avoiding the sophomore slump, his second outing, Lil’ Man Soul, scored two No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Songs chart with “I’m Waiting For You” staying in the top spot for 12 weeks and winning Song of the Year at the 2009 American Smooth Jazz Awards. His self-titled third album (2010) incorporated more funk and pop grooves spawning a pair of singles that peaked at No. 2 (“Push”) and No. 3 (“Dance With Me”) on the Billboard chart. Joyner fueled his popularity in support of each campaign by touring the globe extensively, including performances at major jazz festivals alongside his role models such as Albright, George Duke, Marcus Miller, Kirk Whalum and Najee.
Having established himself in the contemporary jazz-R&B instrumental realm, Joyner switched direction by returning to his roots on his fourth album. Reared in the church, Joyner’s 2012 offering Church Boy was a well- received gospel jazz collection that charted on Billboard’s Jazz Albums and Top Gospel Albums charts paced by the single, “City On Our Knees,” which went Top 20. Prior to launching his recording career, it was the church and Joyner’s faith that carried him through two bouts with homelessness during which he slept in his car. After regaining his footing, he was part of a month-long missionary trip to Africa. “It was a transformative experience that showed me how good we have it here in America. In many parts of Africa, there is no running water or electricity, let alone when you are homeless. It opened my perspective immensely, especially seeing people who were happy even though they didn’t have anything material,” reflects Joyner. “Touring behind Church Boy provided unique experiences like visiting churches where I was able to talk to large audiences as well as share my God-given gift.”
Entering his mid-30s, Joyner is an exuberant talent with creative ambitions in areas beyond music. While focusing more on his songwriting and playing more soprano sax, he’s penning a sci-fi novel. Joyner, who resides with his wife, Lola, near Los Angeles, CA, anticipates a busy year of touring ahead—both with his own band and with Matsui. “I’m excited about playing music from Evolve live because it was written specifically with live performances in mind.” It will be interesting to watch this young artist continue to evolve.
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