When Justin-Lee Schultz released his debut album Gruv Kid at the age of 13, he created a phenomenal response. Many musicians wanted to take part in his media launch, a youthful artist who can rightly call himself Genius. With Just In The Moment, his third album is now available and a certain normality has entered his career.

Justin himself describes his style as contemporary jazz fusion. In my opinion, however, he is more oriented towards smooth jazz. On the whole, his music is melodically focused, although he also likes to show off his playful brilliance in extensive improvisations.

He performs piano, keyboards, vocals, horns, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and bass on the album. He is supported by Jamie-Leigh Schultz (drums), Dave Koz (sax), Gorden Campbell (drums), Roberto Vally (bass), Paul Brown (guitar, percussion), Jay Gore (guitar), Riley Glasper (drum programming), Ron King (trumpet), Greg Vail (sax) and Richard Elliot (sax).

The album opens with Freedom Jazz Dance, a cover of the jazz funk composition written by Eddie Harris in 1965. It was Robert Glasper who suggested Justin to make a rendition by intensively using the talk box. A tune that he first came in contact with through his piano teacher (Jeremy Siskind) in 2017.

In The Moment shows the sophisticated elegance of a musician who has already reached the maturity of an old master at a young age. It is amazing how perfectly he commands all instruments and brings them into harmonic unison.

Fellowship is the fist of three tunes, which were recorded under the guidance of Paul Brown. Dave Koz sets emotional accents on the saxophone, which underline the melodic course. Nevertheless, the piece is dominated by Justin's piano runs, rightly so.

Daybreak is the next highlight of this genius, impressing us with its breathtaking perfection of a multitude of instruments and a refined composition. On Moonshine, he demonstrates his dominance on guitar and piano in the form of a sweeping question and answer format.

The Oasis is a refuge in the desert that grants life with precious water reserves. This song also shows the huge potential and talent from which Justin develops his impressive moments. One can be sure that this musician will play a decisive role in shaping contemporary jazz in the coming decades.

With A Timeless Dream, the horses gallop away from him. Here, a virtuoso wants to prove his skills on bass and piano. When he then collaborates with other musicians, as on Downtime, the melody blossoms in all its beauty. The backing horn section by Ron King perfectly fills the overall frame. Absolutely sure Justin's piano technique is divine.

Down Time has a surprising nice flow. Less a head-bopper but more the nucleus where smooth jazz should go today. The final tune Switching Lanes features Richard Elliot on sax. A last time Justin excels on his prime instrument, the piano.

Compared to his debut album Justin-Lee has put down an outstanding development with Just In The Moment. He still shines with his virtuosity, but he no longer uses the songs as a vehicle to show it off, instead allowing his compositional prowess free rein.




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Album Information

Title: Just In The Moment
Artist: Justin-Lee Schultz
Year: 2022
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Shanachie Entertainment


1) "Freedom Jazz Dance" (3:26)
2) "In The Moment" (4:00)
3) "Fellowship" (4:03)
4) "Daybreak" (4:00)
5) "Moonshine" (4:04)
6) "The Oasis" (3:18)
7) "A Timeless Dream" (3:38)
8) "Overcome" (3:53)
9) "Down Time" (4:30)
10) "Switching Lanes" (3:31)

Further Review:

Gruv Kid