A trinity of influences shaped saxophonist Jackiem Joyner’s (www.JackiemJoyner.com) creative process as he began writing and recording “Main Street Beat,” his sixth album due June 30. The award-winning hit-maker initially set out to make a funk record. He wanted the collection to pay tribute to his ardor and appreciation for the Motown sound. Thirdly, the self-produced set was inspired by the presence of his first-born child, Trinity, who was by her daddy’s side in the studio each and every day. “Trinity,” the energizing first single named for her “bouncy and bubbly little self,” arrives at radio ahead of the album and is bolstered by the fanciful fretwork of guitarist Steve Oliver.
A high-energy set showcasing Joyner’s impassioned horn play on tenor, soprano and alto sax, “Main Street Beat” evolved into much more than a funk record with R&B, contemporary jazz and pop nuances seeping into the mix. The grooves – many of which are infused with the soul power of a muscular sax section laid down in layers by Joyner – are undeniably danceable while his innate flair for crafting catchy hooks and buoyant melodies are prominent in the nine new songs that he penned for the project.
I am thinking that we should just take the Smooth Jazz genre and rename it R&B. This music is R&B right now. I mean, I would take Joyner, Boney James, Rick Braun, Norman Brown and Candy Dulfer over any of the R&B artists that are currently on the scene.
Just take Main Street Beat as an example.
Jackiem Joyner Main Street Beat Review
The set opens with Main Street. It is an uptempo track that sets the tone for the entire album. It has an energy about it…one of anticipation. I think that comes from the first verse, where Joyner’s horn plays over the funky drum patch. When you hear the hook, you know you have a winner.
Back To Motown is up next. With a title like that, you kind of expect an old school feel to the track. That is exactly what you get. Back To Motown has a mid-tempo grove, and it is one that you will initially play on repeat to take in all of that goodness.
This brings us to one of the two remakes on the album. Can’t Stop The Feeling is the Justin Timberlake song. I really like the original, and this interpretation is just as good. The vocals are there on the chorus, so you can still sing along to this infectious groove. Listen to the bridge about two-thirds of the way through, and you will love the way Joyner plays that horn.
On Trinity, there are two stars on the track: the sax and the acoustic guitar. These two instruments play well together over another mid-tempo groove. Steve Oliver is the talent behind the guitar work. I have always loved the tone of his guitar. His sound is very unique.
You can listen for yourself:
Nick Colionne guests on the next track, When You Smile. Although there aren’t any lyrics on this song, I would not have been mad if there was a guest vocal on this one. By the way, this track will indeed make you smile.
If you are looking for some funk, then Southside Boulevard will be the one for you. This track envokes the style of some of Joyner’s earlier works.
Joyner breaks it down a little with That Good Thing. There’s nothing much to say about this one, it is just a really solid track with a strong bassline.
Up next is the second remake on the album, the Bruno Mars hit, Treasure. Even though the two versions have the same BPM (beats per minute) the delivery is a little more laid back, but not a lot. Once again, the vocals are there for the hook, allowing you to sing along.
Addicted is a song that breaks it all the way down. For a minute there, I felt like I walked into a movie scene where there was some serious love making going on. Once again, you get a musical bridge about two-thirds into the song, and it is pure magic. I have to say, a good bridge can totally make a song.
Don’t Maker Her Wait is a nice slow jam, and you can consider this the official cool down as the album nears an end.
The set ends with Get Down Street, a funky uptempo track. Joyner wanted to leave you on a high note, and he definitely succeeds on that point.
We give Main Street Beat an A, as all of the elements are there: Groovy mid-tempo songs, funky uptempo tracks, and a couple of slow songs to round out the album. The two remakes were good choices, as these are current songs, and not the old school choices that most artists make.