of The Party” is saxophonist Joe
Johnson’s sophomore offering. The Nashville, TN native
has written and produced a tasty collection of tunes anchored by a
variety of familiar yet seductively fresh tracks in order to gain
notoriety in the narrowing smoothjazz landscape. Nevertheless, Johnson’s
undeniablepassion and optimism driven by his determination
to play the music that he loves is a definite blessing. His voice of
enthusiasm generates a compassionate sound that will indeed garner
attention to this harvest of mouth-watering yet unpretentiously fresh
sounds of smooth urban jazz.
the opening track “Juke Joint and Jams” evokes the spirit
of Joe Johnson’s past, present and future passion for playing
the cold steel with power and conviction.
Sumthing” originally recorded by Neo Soul vocal sensation
Maxwell comes next. This is a very smart move on Johnson’s
behalf to add this selection to the mix after all it’s got the right
hook and tempo, the kind of vibe that will generate lots of
conversation amongst urban and smoothjazz listeners
Joe Johnson has recorded quite a few covers throughout “Life
of the Party”. However, at this junction I can see that he’s
without a doubt a cover song magnet; he’s extremely good at
capturing the essence of what these jams are all about. Case in point:
“U Know What’s Up”, its sweet, it’s hip and it’s
catchy all wrapped into one envelope called Joe’s groove.
Cha Know” is a slow jam that squeezes its way into the forth
position. It’s got that perfect Quite Storm effect going on,
which blends nicely with the next track titled “A Dream”.Their chemistry sizzles in close relationship sonically to one
another, which makes a nice marriage.
brother Joe had to go there and cover Alicia Keys “You
Don’t know My Name”. Johnson’s song selection process
is on point when it comes to picking these songs to record; he’s got
it like that people, seriously!
Know Joe” is a prelude to the title track “Life of The
Party”. This is Johnson’s most adventurous composition
on the album and he’s without doubt defying the smoothjazz norm with
this track. It’s nice, very nice indeed!
continues to navigate with purpose thru R&B playlists. This time
he reworks a Roy Ayers classic “Everybody Loves the
Sunshine” and renames it “My Life”. I dig the vibe of
this track folks; this is unquestionably one of my favorites on the
I first heard “Say Yes” originally performed by the Grammy
winning duo Floetry, I immediately fell in love with this
tune. Johnson’s sweet and soulful playing technique draws you
into the pulse of this rendition divulging his passion for love and
romance for the third time around on “Life of The Party”.
of The Party” comes to an end with down-tempo groove titled “Come
Close”. Joe wraps up this collection of music
expressively with his warm and sultry yet graceful tonality that
echoes sublime melodies that beckons you for another listen.
listening to “Life of The Party”, it’s very clear to me
that his musical direction is well defined with purpose and pinpoint
accuracy as a marksman in hopes to possibly capture an even wider
audience. The forecast for Johnson’s success as a musician
looks mighty promising to me. Urban and Smoothjazz radio
stations and fans alike should enjoy Joe Johnson’s soothing,
hip and soulful, yet enticing blend of smooth urban jazz for years to
come. After all, he is the “Life of The Party”.