Although this internationally-renowned saxophonist is probably often mistaken for the English singer and songwriter JessIE J, in the jazz world JessY J has certainly become one of the genre’s most innovative young voices. Her fifth studio release, My One And Only One, proves this point many times over.
Written, arranged and produced by Jessy J herself, this album blends elements of funk, soul, Latin jazz and smooth grooves, resulting in captivating melodies indicative of her amazing artistry. The record consists of seven original tunes and three covers, largely inspired by her African and Cuban travels. Listeners will likely hear influences from her eclectic musical tastes ranging from Billie Holiday to Sergio Mendes and even Bruno Mars scattered throughout the CD. It also becomes obvious early on why she has toured and recorded with the likes of Aerosmith, The Temptations and Michael Buble, among others.
My One And Only One kicks off with “Una Mas,” an effortlessly cool and bluesy Latin jam. Next up, the title track brings romance to the fore with its lyrical, breezy feel. “Lovesong,” first made famous by The Cure and most recently by Adele, here is a more chill, melancholic version, the instrumentals filled with longing. Then there’s “Back To The Basics,” a funky, groovy piece dedicated to Mother Africa harnessing the primal quality of the drum. “Siempre” is the epitome of island jams with its hypnotic lilt and dreamy ambience. “Cuba” is a festive affair that melds jazz with delicious Latin beats. The final track, “Strawberry Letter 23,” was written by Shuggie Otis and best known thanks to The Brothers Johnson. For this song, Jessy J combines strains of jazz, rock and funk to create a groove-based number with an edge.
There are three tracks though that undoubtedly steal the limelight. The first of these is “The Tango Boy,” the album’s delightfully invigorating lead single about a young man who dances through life. Next is “Paraiso Magico,” a playfully jubilant tune that perfectly captures Cuban music’s effervescent rhythms. Jessy J not only speaks in Spanish here, but she shows her versatility as a musician by playing the flute, and exceptionally well at that. The last of the record’s highlights is “You’re Makin Me High,” a revamping of the Toni Braxton & Babyface smash hit. The sexy lyrics and tight harmonies make for one seductive instrumental in Jessy J’s very capable hands.
Soulful, sophisticated and just plain cool, Jessy J’s My One And Only One will earn her an even bigger following than she’s already amassed in the smooth jazz field.